Blue light screen protectors are panels of tempered glass or acrylic that fit the screen of your device. They are meant to filter out a portion of the blue light, without totally changing your screen’s appearance or display quality.
It’s important to note that while there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting the idea that blue light filtering glasses and screen protectors can help reduce eyestrain, more scientific research needs to be done to back it up. A 2017 review of three studies suggests that there’s not currently enough evidence to determine the impact these products have on our eye health and sleep-wake cycles.
“Some studies suggest that devices like monitors and cellphones have a blue light wavelength that affects vision in two ways: The first is that it’s harmful to your eyes and can cause possible long-term damage,” Todd Handel, an optician at East Coast Optometry, previously told mindbodygreen. “The second, more important effect is that blue light can affect circadian rhythms and negatively impact your sleep patterns.”
According to board certified ophthalmologist Yuna Rappaport, M.D., M.P.H, the issue is more about our screens in general. “Screens in general cause eye strain,” she explains. “We typically have a blink rate of 18 times a minute, and when we are on screens it is down to around 6—this causes dry eye and irritation.”
While more research still needs to be done to prove their effectiveness, there is no reason to believe blue light screen protectors could be harmful. Particularly for the sake of your sleep, positive reviews suggest that these products may be worth trying—that is, of course, if you’re willing to spend a few bucks on the experiment. In addition, Rappapport suggests implementing the 20/20/20 rule. “Every 20 min look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Keeping lubricating drops next to your computer to use is also a great idea,” she says.