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Sunglasses VS. Blue Light Glasses: All Difference You Need To Know

Sunglasses And Blue Light Glasses

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Are you unsure of what to buy between sunglasses VS. blue light glasses? The best way to choose is to know their differences and understand the protection that these kinds of eyewear can offer. More importantly, what is your purpose for wearing it? 

Sunglasses are essential in blocking UV rays from the sun, causing eye diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium with prolonged exposure. On the other hand, blue light glasses have thinner filters to block or absorb blue light from looking at a screen for an extended period. 

Before you get your wallet out of your pocket or bag, let me give you a better understanding first about these two different kinds of eyeglasses. I will help you know which one should you pick, or maybe, you need both? Nonetheless, make sure to keep on reading to get the right protection for your eyes. 

The Differences Between Sunglasses vs. Blue Light Glasses? 

At first glance, you may overlook the distinctions between sunglasses and blue light glasses, aside from the color of its lenses. Most sunglasses have tinted color spectacles while blue light glasses are colorless. Aside from the appearance, both eyewear sets differ in purpose. The filter is used to protect against Ultraviolet (UV) rays. If you want to know what I mean, let’s dig in with more details. 

The Difference In Purpose 

Sunglasses are not only stylish accessories but also one way to protect your eyes while you’re outdoors. The essential benefit of wearing it is protection against UV rays directly from the sun and other human-made UV lights. Prolonged exposure to these elements can affect the eyelid, cornea, lens, and retina of your eye. Hence, you can see many people wear sunglasses whenever they go out during the day or even on construction sites where welding activities are every day. 

Sunglasses should provide 100% UV protection to filter all harmful UV rays that can damage your sight. It is the essential thing that you should look for in every pair of sunglasses you would buy. Polarization is an optional feature to reduce glare to make your eyes more comfortable, while tinting depends on your preference. In other words, the purpose of quality 

sunglasses is to absorb both Ultraviolet A-Rays (UVA) and Ultraviolet B-Rays (UVB rays). 

What are the differences between the two most common UV lights on the earth’s surface? 

We’ll discuss it in a while. For now, let’s continue with the Blue Light Glasses’ primary purpose. 

The goal of blue light glasses is to block or absorb blue light and, in some cases, UV lights through its filters. Compared to sunglasses, this eyewear has fewer filters on its lenses because it’s specifically for people who work in front of monitors, laptops, and smartphones for an extended period. It reduces blue light waves exposure that can damage your skin and keep you awake at night. It is easy to get confused with blue light glasses and correction eyewear because both have colorless optics. But remember that the first one doesn’t have any eye grade. The lenses of blue light glasses filter the highest energy wavelengths of visible light, about 400 to 440 nanometer (nm). 

The Difference Filters Used 

Since sunglasses and blue light glasses have different purposes and protect against varying UV rays; hence, they also use additional filters. UVA and UVB have higher energy wavelengths than blue light, so expect sunglasses to feature thicker filters and higher protection on their lenses. 

Metal Blue Light Glass

Filters Used In Sunglasses 

Most sunglasses use these filters on each pair of lenses. 

● Anti-Reflective Coating – It sits closest to your eyes that reduces back-glare and internal reflection of the lenses. 

● Lens (With UV Coating) – It comes infused with organic dyes and metallic oxide pigments that help absorb and reflect harmful light. 

● Scratch-resistant Coating – It is a challenging and durable polymer film that protects the surfaces of the lenses. 

● Mirror Coating – It is the first defense against UV rays. An ultra-thin coat of reflective molecules that deflect the light in bright conditions. 

Filters Used In Blue Light Glasses 

Here are the filters used in some of the most common blue light glasses. 

● Anti-Reflective Coating – It minimizes the amount of light reflected away from the eye while allowing more light to transmit through the lens. As a result, it reduces distracting glare while increasing contrast for better and less eye strain. 

● Lens – The best lens for blue light glasses should be the least distracting or lightest weight possible because it affects your comfortability while wearing it. Moreover, it should have the highest optical clarity so that you can have the least color distortion and reflection. 

● Scratch-resistant Coating – It is a challenging and durable polymer film that protects the surfaces of the lenses. 

● Special Lenses With Melanin – Some blue light lenses may have natural melanin to protect your undereye skin from UV light. Lenses infused with melanin can filter up to 98% of blue light. However, note that you don’t need to block 100% of blue light since it regulates your natural wakefulness. 

The Difference In Protection 

Regardless of the season, the sun never goes out of the environment, heck, not ever our solar system! Whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall, every one of us is always prone to UV exposure. Hence, eye protection is essential if you’re going out during the day and do other outdoor activities like fishing since you’re near a body of water, so the light reflects anywhere. Otherwise, excessive UV exposure, including visible and invisible components, can result in corneal skin burn and other related diseases. 

IMPORTANT NOTE! Sunglasses are not enough to protect your eyes against direct looking at the sun during a solar eclipse. You can use unique eyewear called solar viewers to filter out UV radiation that is harmful to the eyes. 

Blue light glasses, from the name itself, protect blue light from ruining your vision. It is a part of the visible light spectrum with a short wavelength, which means higher energy wavelengths. It occurs naturally from the sun and other digital devices with screens. You can get some benefits from blue light, especially during daylight, as it can boost attention, reaction times, and mood. It only becomes a threat when your eyes acquire too much radiation, contributing to digital eye strain. 

Over time, blue light can also have lasting physical effects since its wavelengths can reach further back into the human eye, leading to damaged retina. Hence, once you get at least 20 minutes stare on your screen, it’s best to protect your eyes with blue light glasses. Since blue lights are not all bad, the ideal protection is about 30% to 60% for average users. Still, it depends on your eyes’ sensitivity to light, so it’s best if you speak with your eye doctor. 

Wearing Sunglasses Under Sun

What Is UV Radiation? 

We already know that sunglasses are for blocking intense UV lights from the outside environment. In contrast, blue light glasses are best for internal use. Since we’ve been talking about it in this entire article, let’s answer this question – what is UV radiation? 

Ultraviolet Radiation is electromagnetic radiation that is naturally present in the sun and other human-made sources like tanning beds and welding torches. Its intensity ranges from very high-energy (high-frequency) radiation like x-rays and gamma rays to very low-energy (low-frequency) radiation like radio waves. So, where do UV rays lie in this spectrum? 

Sun Rays

UV rays are in the middle, which means it has more energy than visible light, but not as intense as x-rays. It comes into three primary groups – the UVA, UVB, and UVC. 

● Ultraviolet A-rays (UVA) – It has the least energy among all groups. It can still cause skin cells to age and some indirect damage to the cells’ DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). 

● Ultraviolet B-rays (UVB) – This group has slightly more energy than UVA rays. Which can damage the skin cells, cause sunburns, and, worst, skin cancers. Since UVA and UVB are linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles and skin problems, you can now tell why sunscreens and sunglasses are essential when going outdoors. 

● Ultraviolet C-rays (UVC) – It has the highest energy, among other types of UV rays. 

It is the reason why the ozone layer in our atmosphere takes care of it so that it won’t reach the ground and neither us. However, UVC can still come from other human-made sources like welding torches, mercury lamps, and UV sanitizers for killing bacteria, viruses, and germs on the surfaces. In this case, neither sunglasses. 

Blue light glasses are a better option as they require specialized eyewear with unique lenses for eye protection. 

Conclusion

Selecting the perfect eyewear depends on what you need. Can you get both sunglasses and blue light glasses? Of course! Please wear eye protection against UV rays and blue lights. It’s always never “too early” or “too late” to start safeguarding your eyes because 

now” is still the best time to start.

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