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The best blue light blocking glasses: Give your eyes a break

What are the best blue light-blocking glasses? The Warby Parker Glasses. But ZDNet combed through the many options available to find the top five. If you stare at a screen for work or scroll on your phone at night, you might benefit from blue light-blocking glasses.
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Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer on

The average person spends almost seven hours a day looking at a screen, whether it's your laptop, smartphone, or TV. Unfortunately, that means we are looking at a lot of blue light, affecting our eyes by making them tired, dry, and squinty.

Blue light is a part of the light spectrum mainly given off by LED lights and electronic devices such as smartphones, computer screens, and televisions. Wearing blue light glasses can make those long hours we spend staring at our screens more bearable, especially at nighttime.

We rounded up some of the best blue light blocking glasses that can double as prescription glasses, cater to gamers, help you get a better night's sleep, and more.

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Warby Parker

Warby Parker offers a blue-light blocking add-on to their popular frames if you already wear prescription glasses. With plenty of different styles and color options, you can get a functional pair of prescription glasses that also double at blocking the harmful blue light.

A free Virtual Try-on app uses augmented reality to see how the glasses would look on you. Or, you can opt to choose five frames you're interested in and get them delivered to your home for free to choose which pair looks the best on you in person. Warby Parker can even help you book an eye exam.

Each pair of lenses are custom-cut and made and include impact-resistant lenses and scratch-resistant coating. In addition, they block 100% of UVA and UVB rays and up to 34% of blue light from the frequency of LED screens.

Pros

  • Virtual and home try-on options
  • For every pair purchased, a pair is donated to someone in need
  • Countless styles, colors, and sizes to choose from

Cons

  • Blue light blocking add-on costs an additional $50
  • Most expensive option on our list 
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Gamma Ray Optics

A more low-cost option is Gamma Ray Optics blue-light blocking glasses. Their simple frames are a classic style that should compliment most face shapes.

You can add up to four times magnification so that your blue light glasses will block your screens' blue light while also reducing your need to squint. The glasses themselves are super lightweight -- you can barely feel them when you have them on -- and they also come with anti-UV glare.

Just be sure to double-check these glasses' measurements since they only come in one size.

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Lightweight frames

Cons

  • Glass size cannot be adjusted, so they may not fit everyone
  • Slight yellow tint
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Felix Gray

Felix Gray allows you to choose from plenty of frame styles, colors and sizes to fit all types of face shapes. You can also choose from clear- or amber-tinted blue light glasses, but all glasses come with 100% UVA/UVB protection and double-sided anti-glare coating.

These glasses are designed to block the highest energy blue light wavelengths (in the 380-440nm range). Felix Gray claims that its glasses filter over 50% of the entire range and almost 90% of the most harmful wavelengths.

You can also add an RX prescription to your blue-light glasses or magnification if you need a little more clarity. Some Felix Gray purchases may be eligible for HAS or FSA reimbursement, so it's worth seeing if your health insurance provider will help cover the cost.

Pros

  • Can add magnification or an RX prescription
  • Choose from amber or clear blue-light tints
  • So many different styles and colors to choose from

Cons

  • On the expensive side 
  • No virtual try-on
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Gunnar

Since gamers stare at screens for hours, they need a reliable pair of blue-light blocking glasses. Gunnar's gaming eyewear collection claims to reduce eye strain and prevent dry eyes from long hours of gaming.

These glasses block 65% of the LED blue light from screens and have smudge and anti-glare coating on the lenses. You can also add magnification to your glasses, so you don't have to squint as much while playing farther away from your screen.

What's unique about these particular glasses is their gamified limited-edition pairs, such as Razer editions, 6-Siege editions, and an Assassin's Creed edition.

Pros

  • Long-lasting quality
  • You can virtually try them on
  • Fun, video game-themed frames

Cons

  • Some model's noise pieces can dig into the bridge of the nose when wearing certain headsets
  • Prescription models are expensive 
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BLUblox

While many wear blue-light glasses during the day, it's also important to consider wearing a pair at night, especially if you've made late-night scrolling a habit. Just like you have a Night Shift setting on your phone set for the evening hours, these BLUblox Sleep+ glasses help prepare your eyes to go to bed while still being able to use your smartphone or watch TV.

These glasses work by blocking shortwave blue-violet and green frequencies to reduce the amount of light in the eye. Research shows that amber lenses reduce time awake during the night and improve the overall quality of your sleep since amber tints specifically filter the range of blue light that impacts melatonin production (440-550 nm wavelengths).

Wear these glasses two-three hours before bedtime so as not to disrupt your circadian rhythm to fall asleep easier.

Pros

  • It helps to improve the quality of your sleep
  • Different frame styles to choose from

Cons

  • Frame material is not as high quality as other options 

What are the best blue light blocking glasses?

The Warby Parker Glasses are our top pick, but here is your decision tree

The right blue light glasses will depend on your specific needs. Warby Parker, Gamma Ray, and Felix Grey are all great options if you want something to simply look stylish and feel better about staring at screens all day.

Gamers should opt for the Gunnar blue-blocking glasses since they were made with gaming in mind. And those looking to get a good night's sleep without giving up their technology should look into the BLUblox Sleep+ glasses.

Blue light glasses

Price

% of blue light blocked

Anti-glare?

Warby Parker

$145

34%

Yes

Gamma Ray Optics

$15

N/A

Yes

Felix Gray

$98

50%

Yes

Gunnar

$50

65%

Yes

BLUblox

$99

100% of blue and green light from 400nm to 550nm

No

How did we choose these blue light blocking glasses?

We carefully selected these blue light glasses based on well-known and established brands, our own use with some of the glasses, and by reading customer reviews online -- both the good and the bad.

ZDNet also considered factors like price, how much blue light each pair of glasses claim to block, and other features like if they had anti-glare, magnification, prescription options, etc. 

How do blue light glasses work?

Blue light block glasses use filters in their lenses to filter out the adverse effects of blue light and help increase contrast, meaning you don't have to rub your eyes as much after long periods of staring at your computer screen.

Blue light is measured in nanometers, and there are different types of blue light. For example, one kind of blue light is emitted from the sun and low-energy indoor light, which comes in at 400 nanometers -- most of the glasses on this list filter 100% of this type of blue light. However, blue light that is emitted from LED screens is 420-455 nanometers, and we've listed the percentage of blue light each brand claims can filter this type of blue light.

Is blue light bad?

Not all blue light is inherently bad. Blue light actually helps boost alertness and mood while preventing fatigue. While this may sound great while working during the day, it's not so great at night.

The most important research about blue light shows that continued exposure to low-intensity blue light before bedtime may affect sleep quality, circadian phase, and cycle durations. 

There are other negative effects of blue light on your health as well. While there are conflicting reports, other studies point to the long-term exposure that blue light can cause to your vision, including accelerating eye diseases like macular degeneration.

In addition, one study suggests that blue light (along with white, amber, and red lights) can worsen a migraine or headache. Some people are also reported to have less sensitivity to light and less light-sensitive-triggered headaches and migraines when wearing blue light glasses. 

When should you wear blue light blocking glasses?

You should wear your blue light glasses whenever looking at a screen for longer than 10 minutes. This means during your workday while on your computer or laptop, lying on the couch scrolling through Instagram on your phone, or reading something on your tablet.

Most importantly, you should wear blue light blocking glasses in the evening hours if you are working on a late-night project on your computer or texting on your phone.

While the studies out there differ on the effectiveness of blue light blocking glasses, there is no harm in continuing wearing them if you notice a difference.

Are there alternative blue light block glasses worth considering?

Here are a few other options to look into:

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