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Blocking the Blues in my Purple Glasses

By Dr. Charity K. Robinson

I got new glasses! Yeah, the optometry nerd in me is really excited about the technology of the lenses in my glasses. So excited in fact that I decided to blog about it. I always update my contacts annually, but inadvertently had put off new glasses for a couple years. I have several cute fashion frames that I got in optometry school. Then, sheepishly, I realized that, those are now five years old and it was more than time this optometrist get new glasses!

After a pregnancy, and a few years of what I call “life experience” my prescription had changed. Not much, but as I often say, a little change can make a big difference. Dr. Miller tried to tell me it was because I’m getting older, but we all know, I just call it life experience. (If you ever sit in my chair, I refuse to use the AGE word in my exam room).

I spend a good deal of my day talking to patients who use a computer or digital device for a good deal of their day. Maybe you’ve already heard my chair side spiel about high energy blue light emitted by all digital devices. All visible light has a wavelength that gives it a specific amount of energy. You’re likely already familiar with the concept that UV light is a high energy light source that can have damaging effects if experienced in high quantities. Blue light is less energy than UV light, but higher energy than the light we’re used to seeing in the visible spectrum. Blue light has become a hot topic in the last few years with the increased use of digital devices. We’re all familiar with the effects of UV light and most of us even use sunscreen. But how can we shield our eyes from the blue light?

Discussing blue light with patients has become a priority for me over the last year or so. There are studies documenting some of the effects of blue light as causing digital eye strain, tired eyes, twitching eyelids and computer related dry eye syndrome. Blue light has even been shown to effect the hormones that regulate sleep. Certain computer manufacturers created “night shift” for their devices to alleviate some of the exposure after dusk. At this time, there is not a lot of documentation of long term effects of what blue light will do, but we can speculate that it may cause diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration to develop sooner than someone with less blue light exposure.

My personal experience is not unlike many of you. I’m on a device of some sort, way too much. It’s how I do my job, it’s how I keep up with my family’s schedule, how I check the weather, and how I stay in touch with friends. It’s even how I’m writing this post to you. I knew my eyes were tired at the end of the day, but shouldn’t they be at 9 pm, regardless of the device (still) in my hand? Ironically, optometrists have vision problems too. I started to notice my tired eye feeling earlier and earlier in the day.

My desire to wear contacts initially slowed my desire to wear glasses, but after telling my patients the benefits, I knew I really needed a blue light filter for myself. About a week after I ordered, I put my custom prescription on. I call it custom because every time you have your vision checked, we measure exactly what your prescription is. It may sound cheesy, but I really felt relief within a couple hours of having them on. I knew that the high intensity of the blue light from the computer screen was theoretically causing a strain, but I didn’t recognize the extent of the strain, until it was gone. The computer was easier to read, my phone was easier to see. After a full day of work, my eyes didn’t feel tired on the drive home.

You may have seen our Facebook post with me in the purple eco by Modo frames that mentioned the EyeZen lens package. The EyeZen has a small reading helper at the bottom as well as the blue light filter. The reading helper boosts comfort for demands of prolonged near tasks. If your prescription doesn’t need the near boost, you can still benefit from a blue light filter. Or maybe, like me, you’re really just in love with your contacts. For you we can customize your glasses prescription for use with digital devices specifically over your contacts and you would only wear them when using a digital device.

At this point, you may be wondering what the purple glasses have to do with the blue light block. The frames were comfortable when I put them on and happened to be my daughter’s favorite color. I wanted a color that was fun but not too bright or distracting and this tortoise marbled purple worked for me. One of the reasons we carry the eco brand frames in our office though, is that they are lightweight and made from 100% recycled materials. I admit, it is a good feeling to be using recycled material, protecting my eyes and looking on point at the same time.

Dr. Charity K Robinson joined Mooresville Family Eyecare in January 2018. She is passionate about vision health for all ages. You can schedule your appointment with her on Mondays. Call 317-831-0725 or schedule an appointment online.