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Blue light filters shown to not reduce digital eye strain

A new study has suggested that current blue light filters are no better at reducing the symptoms of Digital Eye Strain (DES) than an equiluminant neutral density filter.

The study involved 23 visually normal subjects, who were tasked with reading a tablet computer 30 minutes.

The screens were overlaid with a neutral density filter for the control group, and a blue blocking filter for test subjects. While undertaking the reading exercise, researchers observed the test subjects for accommodative response, pupil diameter and vertical palpebral aperture dimension.

The test participants were also made to complete a questionnaire after the experiment to quantify the symptoms of DES.

Researchers claimed they found no difference between the two filters at effectively addressing symptoms of DES.

“These results do not support the use of blue-blocking filters for the treatment of digital eyestrain,” study co-author Professor Mark Rosenfield from the State University of New York College of Optometry told Healio.

“There is no physiological mechanism at the present time that links blue light with eyestrain. Blue light may interfere with the body’s circadian rhythm, so that blue light exposure in the evening may interfere with the ability to go to sleep.

It is for this reason that digital screen time should be avoided in the 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. Also, extremely high levels of blue exposure may be associated with damage to the posterior segment and have been linked with conditions such as age-related macular degeneration.”

“More recent work from our laboratory (submitted for publication) also found no significant difference in symptoms of digital eyestrain between clear lenses that included a blue-blocking filter and a clear CR39 lens. Accordingly, there is little support for this treatment paradigm at the present time,” Rosenfield added.

Rosenfield said that those experiencing DES should receive a complete ocular examination.

The study was published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.

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