Children’s screen time is a common concern for parents. The rise of remote learning, along with the prevalence of cell phones, tablets, and laptops in homes, has exponentially increased screen time.
As children spend more time in front of digital screens, new health effects arise. Two of the most common effects of increased screen time are:
- Digital eye strain (computer vision syndrome) 1, 2, 3
- Poor sleep habits 4, 5
To combat these symptoms, eye wear companies have started producing blue light filtering lenses. Blue light blocking glasses have become popular among both people with prescription glasses and those without prescriptions.
5 Best Blue Light Blocking Glasses for Children
For ages 3 to 9, these kids’ non-prescription glasses are soft and comfortable. They’re made from TR90 plastic, which is bendable and designed for kids. They have a 12-month worry-free guarantee.
4.6 out of 5 stars
9,200+ global ratings
These glasses were designed with kids in mind. Silicone frames make them comfortable and lightweight to wear for long periods. They are impact-resistant and can be twisted and bent without breaking.
4.2 out of 5 stars
500+ global ratings
ANDWOOD can protect kids’ vision by blocking blue light. Your children can enjoy playing games without worrying about eye fatigue, blurred vision, or headaches.
4.6 out of 5 stars
500+ global ratings
Warby Parker makes high-quality, stylish eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contacts. Their Home Try-On program lets you try 5 frames for free before ordering.
4.6 out of 5 stars
1,500+ global ratings
Warby Parker makes high-quality frames at low prices. You can add blue light filtering lenses with or without a prescription to any Warby Parker Kids’ glasses. Unfortunately, you can’t buy them online, but they are available in stores, or you can call them to place an order.
Are Blue Light Blocking Glasses Safe for Children?
Yes, blue light glasses are safe for children. Remember that blue light blocking glasses will not help alleviate digital eye strain symptoms in children.
What Are the Health Benefits?
Reducing blue light exposure can help regulate children’s circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality. The best way to do this is by limiting screen time. However, for many families, it’s unrealistic to ban the use of mobile devices and televisions in the evening.
Blue light blocking glasses for kids are another way to help reduce your child’s exposure to blue light from digital screens. Wearing them for at least 3 hours before bedtime should help improve your child’s melatonin levels and sleep quality.
Improved sleep quality can lead to several health benefits, including: 15
- Language development
- Child emotional and behavioral regulation
- Parent–child attachment
- Family functioning
Other Ways to Keep Kids’ Eyes Healthy
In addition to wearing blue light blocking glasses before bed, there are several other ways to protect your child’s health and reduce digital eye strain:
Manage Screen Time
One of the biggest challenges parents face managing children’s screen time. There is very little scientific data to help parents determine what a healthy amount of screen time is. Plus, schools reliy heavily on digital resources.
The following guidelines are from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP): 16
- Until 18 months of age, limit screen use to video chatting with an adult (for example, with a parent out of town)
- Between 18 and 24 months, limit screen time to watching educational programming with a caregiver
- For children 2 to 5, limit non-educational screen time to about 1 hour per weekday and 3 hours on the weekend
- For ages 6 and older, encourage healthy habits and limit activities that include screens
Additional guidelines suggest to:
- Turn off all screens during family meals and outings
- Learn about and use parental controls
- Avoid using screens as pacifiers, babysitters, or to stop tantrums
- Turn off screens and remove them from bedrooms 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen. Focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. While performing this exercise, stand up and stretch your neck and back. This can relieve stiffness or discomfort.
Adjust Their Workstation
Set the computer so the center of the screen is about 15 to 20 degrees below eye level. Put the computer screen an arm’s length away (~20 inches) from your child. For a tablet or smaller device, put it 16 inches from your child. If you see them leaning closer to see, enlarge the font.
Use Lubricating Eye Drops
Drop lubricating eye drops or artificial tears in your child’s eyes throughout the day to reduce dryness.
Wear Glasses Instead of Contacts
If your child needs vision correction, use glasses instead of contact lenses when using screens. Contacts can increase eye irritation.
Use Anti-Glare Protection
Anti-reflective coating is available on prescription and computer glasses. Matte screens or screen covers can also reduce glare from your digital device.
Adjust Room Lighting
Avoid direct lighting on the screen to minimize glare. Minimize competing lighting by closing blinds and curtains.
Use a Humidifier
If you use an air conditioner or heater, the air in your home may be dry. A humidifier can prevent dry eye symptoms.
Is Blue Light Actually the Cause of Digital Eye Strain and Poor Sleep?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)6 and multiple studies,7, 8, 9 blue light is not correlated to digital eye strain symptoms. Current scientific evidence shows that blue light blocking lenses cannot help reduce symptoms of digital eye strain.
Evidence does, however, show that blue light does negatively affect the quality of sleep by interfering with the body’s production of melatonin. This can upset circadian rhythm, leading to poor sleep.10, 11, 12 As a result, a number of problems such as antisocial behavior and depression can develop.5
Early studies have also shown that reducing blue light exposure before bed can improve sleep quality.11, 12, 13 One study even suggested that blue light filtering glasses can improve work engagement and task performance.14
Blue light blocking glasses can help regulate your circadian rhythm and improve your sleep quality.
In this article