After almost a month of waiting, my blue light blocking glasses finally arrived!!!
As some of you know, I recently changed full-time jobs from teaching kindergarten children to becoming an instructor and field consultant in a Montessori training center in Beijing. One of the biggest health challenges with this new job is being indoors the whole day during the 7-week summer intensive training course under lots—and I mean lots! —of fluorescent lights. To top it off, I have to man the video camera for majority of the work day, filming the course for the adult learners to refer back to. I could really feel the negative effects of being under the flickering glare of those fluorescent lights and staring at the screen of the video camera. By the end of the day, I would feel really exhausted and cranky. For some reason, it kept popping in my head that I was damaging my mitochondria.
(If you are not yet familiar with the damaging effects of blue light and artificial junk light (mostly from LED lights) on your health, you can read all about it at the links at the bottom of the blog post.
I try to step outside as much as I can into the sunshine (when the sun is actually shining—the sun tends to be shy in Beijing—or maybe it’s allergic to all the air pollution here! Teehee…) However, I found that I could only squeeze in a maximum of 15 minutes each day from my busy work schedule to do that! And because of my long work hours during the summer intensive—8AM to 7PM—the sun has already set by the time I get off work.
Given the above challenge, I was determined to somehow find blue light blocking glasses in China. I turned to Taobao, the magical online shopping mecca where everyone here says you can find anything you want. And lo and behold! I did find blue light blocking glasses! The selection, though, was very sparse and I had never heard of any of the brands offered. I was almost tempted to order TrueDark by Dave Asprey of Bulletproof or from Gunnar which a friend had recommended. However, both brands were rather pricey and they would take forever and a day to arrive. Since this was my first foray into the blue light blocking world, I decided I shouldn’t invest too much in these glasses yet. So back to Taobao I went and finally settled on a reasonably-priced pair of Uvex blue light blockers.
Now that I had my very first pair of blue light blockers in my hands, I excitedly put them on. I had read articles about how they make you look weird because of the orange lenses and that the designs were less than fashionable so I wasn’t really expecting anything breathtaking. When I put them on, I noticed that my vision seemed a bit warped at the edges. I did appreciate that the lenses wrapped around my eyes so that no blue light entered from the periphery. Putting them on made me a tad dizzy so I took them off. I was hesitant to put them on during the training session but after a few minutes of being behind the video camera again, I could start feeling the eyestrain from the video screen. So, I just went for the blue light blockers and put them on. And oh! How much more comfortable my eyes felt when I was manning the video cam! The colors were all warm and actually had a soft effect on my eyes. The lights were no longer harsh and my eyes did not feel stressed anymore! It became comfortable to look at the screen. Everything just felt softer to my eyes. I was pretty amazed! The glasses felt so good that I did not care anymore if I looked strange wearing these weird orange glasses. I wore them for the rest of the day.
By the end of the work day, I noticed that I did not feel the usual stress or tiredness. My mood was lighter. In fact, when I arrived home, I still felt energized that I did not even feel the need to rest as I usually would. Instead, I went straight to cooking dinner. And I still did not take off the glasses.
Another thing I noticed is the improvement in my mood. Usually, I would already feel low by the time I got home in the evening. But tonight, I felt quite light and chirpy—a most welcome change! I felt more productive and energetic yet relaxed. I was amazed to observe this—and very, very happy about it! I attribute it to the mitigation of artificial junk light during the day and the blocking of blue light as evening came. I do have a small red light bulb and a small pink Himalayan salt incandescent lamp for night time (to protect my circadian rhythms by avoiding blue light) but I wouldn’t turn them on till it was time for me to be in bed which meant that before that happened, I would have my LED lights on. Not exactly the best practice for optimizing my circadian rhythms and melatonin production. But when I got home tonight, I felt moved to immediately turn on the red incandescent lights—so my house now looks like it’s a brothel! LOL And I’m typing this post right now on my computer still wearing my blue light blockers. Even though it’s almost 12 midnight as I’m writing this, I find that I’m able to think clearly (compared with last night when I tried to write a blog post but couldn’t as my brain felt like it was filled with clouds of cotton). Why, I noticed that even the neck, back, and shoulder pain I typically feel after a long day at work is not as noticeable as it usually is!
So, I’m really happy how it went today with my first experience with blue light blockers. Let’s see how it will go in the next few days By the way, there really isn’t a big need to wear blue light blocking glasses in the daytime especially if you’re outdoors. Blue light itself isn’t harmful. In fact, as far as I know, exposure to blue light from the sun during the daytime is beneficial in helping us have better sleep at night. It’s when we are exposed to blue light from artificial light (such as compact fluorescent light or CFL and device screens at night time that it becomes problematic. How about you? Do you wear blue light blocking glasses? What is your experience like? Or perhaps you’re planning to buy a pair? Let me know your thoughts on this in the comments section below. Sources:
- How LED Lighting May Compromise Your Health. - What is the blue light from our screens really doing to our eyes? - Effects of blue light on the circadian system and eye physiology. - Blue light from light-emitting diodes elicits a dose-dependent suppression of melatonin in humans. - Retinal damage induced by commercial light emitting diodes (LEDs). - Effects of artificial light at night on human health: A literature review of observational and experimental studies applied to exposure assessment. - Evening light exposure to computer screens disrupts human sleep, biological rhythms, and attention abilities