Blue-light filtering spectacles probably not so effective in preventing retinal damage
Spectacles that are marketed to filter out blue light probably make no difference to eye strain caused by computer use or to sleep quality, according to a review of 17 randomized controlled trials of the best available evidence so far. Nor did the review find any evidence that blue-light filtering lenses protect against damage to the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, as included studies did not evaluate this outcome.
The new review, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, was led by researchers at the University of Melbourne in collaboration with colleagues at City, University of London, and Monash University.
The team set out to assess the effects of blue-light filtering lenses compared with non-blue-light filtering lenses for improving visual performance, providing protection to the retina, and improving sleep quality. They analyzed data from all the randomized controlled trials they could find on the topic and found 17 trials from six countries. The number of participants in individual studies ranged from five to 156, and the period of time over which the lenses were assessed ranged from less than one day to five weeks.
The review did not find any consistent reports of adverse side effects from using blue-light filtering lenses. Any effects tended to be mild, infrequent and temporary. They included discomfort wearing the spectacles, headaches and lower mood. These were likely to be related to the wearing of spectacles generally, as similar effects were reported with non-blue-light filtering lenses.
Reference: Blue-light filtering spectacle lenses for visual performance, sleep, and macular health in adults, Cochrane Database of Systematic Review, DOI 10.1002/14651858.CD013244.pub2
B.Sc Life Sciences, M.Sc Biotechnology, B.Ed