We spend a lot of time staring at screens—whether it’s a laptop, smart phone, television, or tablet—and our eyes pay the price. While it’s well-known that prolonged exposure to light can cause retinal injury, there’s one type of light that’s worse than the rest: blue light, a.k.a. the type of light emitted by most digital screens.
The primary concern with blue light is that its wavelengths are shorter than other light types, like red or yellow, so it has more energy. It’s also not filtered out by the cornea or the lens in your eyes (the second part of your eye behind the cornea). As a result, many experts believed it could cause retina damage or eye conditions like macular degeneration, according to a previous interview on Health with Anam Qureshi, MD, clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone in New York City.
Studies on the direct consequence of blue light exposure are limited, but a 2018 study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One found that removing blue light during periods of prolonged light exposure drastically reduces retinal damage. Plus, research has found that blue light suppresses melatonin production, a hormone that controls your sleep cycle.
Blue light is also the primary cause of computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain. This temporary condition results from staring at screens for an extended period and can cause a wide range of symptoms like blurred vision, dizziness, eye strain, double vision, dry eyes, or headaches.
The easiest way to avoid blue light exposure is spending less time on our screens—but we know that feels like an impossible task in the world we live in today, where many of our personal, professional, and social needs require a device. Instead, we recommend investing in a pair of blue light glasses.
These handy glasses filter out blue light, so you can spend more time scrolling and less time dealing with eye strain. They don’t require a doctor’s prescription—though you can choose to buy prescription lenses with blue light-blocking capabilities if you already wear glasses—and can all be easily purchased online.
Below, we compiled a list of the best blue light glasses to protect your eyes including the best prescription pick along with an affordable find. Plus, most of these options offer additional features like UV protection, anti-glare coatings, and even scratch-resistant lenses. How’s that for handling the blues?
These oversized statement glasses block 30% of all blue light to give your eyes a much-needed break—but the high-quality specs don’t stop there. The elegant acetate frame is hand cut with durable 3-barrel hinges, while the scratch-resistant lenses have an anti-reflective coating. They come in either a bold navy or chic taupe colorway suitable for the office or lazy Saturdays on the couch.
Available at anthropologie.com, $75
Whether you’re investing in new prescription glasses or readers, you can add blue light filtering lenses to any of Warby Parker’s stylish frames for just $50 extra. The lenses filter more blue light from both the sun and screen than the brand’s light-response or classic lenses. Plus, they’re scratch-resistant and anti-reflective.
Available at warbyparker.com, starting at $95
You won’t mind staring at a screen all day when you’re sporting these bold blue-light glasses. Made with high-quality acetate frames, they’ll feel lightweight on your face despite a chunky, dramatic style. They also feature 100% UVA and UBA protection to keep your eyes safe even when you’re hanging outdoors.
Available at priverevaux.com, $30
These unisex frames are handcrafted from Italian acetate for a lightweight frame that comfortably hugs your face. They simultaneously filter out blue light and eliminate glare to give you hours of strain-free screen time. You can buy them as readers or non-prescription glasses for $95, or add in prescription lenses for an additional $45.
Available at felixgray.com, from $95
These high-quality readers boast all the specs: blue light filtering, UV protection, anti-smudge and dust-repellant lenses, along with anti-reflective, anti-scratch, and water-repellent coatings. They’re also easy to clean and designed for all-day comfort with spring hinges that adjust to your temples. Better yet, you get a 14-day trial period to ensure they’re the right fit for you.
Available at eyebuydirect.com, $64
Australian eyewear brand Quay is all about keeping your eyes protected in style—and its blue light glasses are no exception. The trendy cateye frames feature special technology to block out excess blue light, but they can also be repurposed as prescription glasses if desired. It’s no surprise they also boast a nearly perfect 4.7-star rating.
Available at quay.com, $39
These thin metal frames weigh just 15 grams, so you’ll barely realize you’re wearing them. (Most frames weigh 16 grams or more.) Available in 6 metallic finishes, the sleek frames also include coatings to protect against glare, UV rays, scratches, and water in addition to blue light filtering.
Available at eyebuydirect.com, $51
You’ll get the best of both worlds with these stylish bifocals that help you view items both close-up and far away. A best-seller in Hilary Duff’s exclusive collection with Muse, the lightweight glasses come in non-prescription, single-vision, progressive vision, or bifocal options. Regardless of your lens choice, you can add a protective blue light lens for just $29 extra (or enter the promo code BLUELIGHT to score the upgrade for free).
Available at glassesusa.com, from $84 (was $104)
It’s not just your computer giving off blue light: The sun is another source of HEV rays. Keep your eyes protected outdoors with Maui Jim’s signature PolarizedPlus2 lenses, a super thin lens that shields eyes from harmful UV rays without obstructing your vision. This lightweight Westside style is perfect for everyday wear, but Maui Jim’s entire collection blocks 95% of blue light.
Available at nordstrom.com, $350