In recent years, blue light filters for glasses have become very popular. These types of lenses are often recommended by opticians on the premise that they can reduce eye fatigue or protect the retina, among other reasons. However, to date, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support these claims. This is indicated by a systematic review of studies published in the journal Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews which concludes that “The results of the review do not support the prescription of blue light filtering glasses to the general population.”
The authors of the paper, researchers from the University of Melbourne (Australia), reviewed the scientific literature in search of studies that compared the use of lenses with a blue light filter with normal glasses when it comes to improving visual performance, protecting the retina and improve sleep quality. In all, they found 17 randomized controlled trials conducted between 2009 and 2021, conducted in six countries and with data from a total of 619 patients (trials ranged from 5 to 156 participants). These studies analyzed the effects of wearing this type of lens for a variable period: from less than one day to a maximum of five weeks.
Following systematic review of the trials, the researchers found that “the use of blue light filtering glasses to reduce eyestrain associated with computer use may not have short-term advantages, compared to lenses without a blue light filter. It is also unclear at present whether these glasses affect the quality of vision or sleep, and no conclusions could be drawn about possible long-term retinal health effects. People should take these findings into account when deciding whether to buy these glasses,” as noted by Laura Downielead author of the review and Associate Professor of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
The systematic review, explains the author via email, has been carried out following the Cochrane methodology “to guarantee the robustness of the findings”.
“For quite some time there has been a debate about whether or not these blue light filter lenses are useful in reducing eye fatigue. It’s a controversial topic. But the advantage of systematic reviews is that it allows for pooling and evaluating in a way critically the best clinical evidence currently available.This allows us to have a clearer picture about whether some interventions, such as the use of these types of lenses, are effective and safe,” says Downie.