As someone who’s been wearing glasses since the second grade, I struggled through much of elementary school being the nerdy kid. I’ve dealt with expensive and painful eye appointments. I’ve woken up from naps with my contacts in, thinking I was going blind. I’ve dealt with it all. Throughout this childhood and now lifetime struggle, I’ve appreciated wearing glasses because they allow me to see in class, recognize friends’ faces without squinting at them and just be a functioning human being. However, as much as I love glasses for their beneficial properties, the recent nonprescription, blue light glasses trend has made me a little disgruntled. For those of you who don’t get constant ads for blue light glasses, know that you can now purchase $15 glasses that filter out blue light from electronic screens and protect your eyes. Now that wearing glasses is cool, why not try them out, right? Well, Clog readers, you’ve been warned — glasses aren’t all you think they are.
If before, you struggled with headaches because of your computer screen, you may find that wearing glasses will actually give you a new kind of headache. When your glasses are too tight (as cheap internet glasses often are), they can give you headaches due to pressure on the sides of your head. I often opt to wear contacts purely to prevent this headache that pops up after wearing glasses for a whole day of studying. You may also struggle with cleaning your glasses. Experts will tell you that a microfiber cloth is the way to go, but the truth is that your glasses will be perpetually smudged regardless of your cleaning method. And sometimes, if you attempt to clean your glasses but aren’t thorough enough, you’ll get this lovely little glare every time you look at something bright, such as a computer screen.
Do these things actually work?
A very quick Google search provides an interesting range of opinions on whether blue light glasses actually work at all. Especially for new, trendy brands that are popping up as a result of increased computer use, it’s hard to say whether the product you’re buying truly benefits your eyes, or if it’s just a fashion statement. Then again, blue light glasses are in no way a new concept, and many people who wear prescription glasses also opt for a blue light filter. But for those $15 Amazon frames, the jury is still out.
Don’t buy them to “look smarter”
I know, I know — you go to UC Berkeley, and any way to improve your image (especially in a Zoom classroom) is a plus. But consider this before pulling out your new frames — your professors were probably glasses-wearing nerds too, and they will see right through your trendy blue light glasses. In all seriousness, if you bought some glasses frames to look more intellectual (wait, really — you did that? I mean, you do you), consider that when light from your computer screen hits your gorgeous new frames, the resulting glare will pretty much obscure your image from everyone on the other side of the screen.
Less trendy, more effective options
Here’s the thing: If you want to buy blue light glasses, do it. But if you’re actually trying to solve a problem such as eyestrain or headaches from excessive screen time, consider some other super easy options first! You can dim your screen, or on some computers, you can turn on a setting that makes your screen look more yellow than blue. If headaches are your issue, try to drink more water, eat and move around regularly. If your eyes have been hurting, try using eye drops. At the end of the day, try out some options and see what works for you. If it becomes a persistent problem, you should consider getting advice from a doctor. Don’t just stick to your glasses if they’re not actually solving the problem.
As glad as I am that trendier glasses options are more accessible, I can’t help but be slightly salty about the hype over blue light glasses that appear to be a trend disguised as a solution to headaches. Maybe this is just second-grade me being sad that she had to wear glasses before they were considered stylish, but for all of you who’ve just discovered how lovely glasses are, take this into consideration: Glasses-wearers have paved the way for blue light glasses to be cool, so raise a glass to them! Glasses-wearers, you were awesome way before blue light glasses became the new thing — cheers to you!