What Should I Look For in Blue Light Blocking Glasses?


Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

To get your value for money and to ultimately obtain the best sleep of your life, there are a few things to think about when buying a pair of blue light blocking glasses. Lucky for you we’ve tried a bunch of these glasses and we want to let you know a few secrets. 

Emma wearing blue light blocking glasses
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What should I look for in blue light blocking glasses? The percentage amount of blue light blocked is the first thing to take note of. Aim for a pair blocking over 95% of blue light. Also, consider the lens color, if they are FDA approved, have UV rated anti-glare coating, the sturdiness of the hinges and if prescription lenses are available.

There is a bit to think about when looking into purchasing a pair of blue light blocking glasses. But throughout this post, we will explain everything you need to know in order to make an informed purchase, which actually works when aiding your sleep.

How Much Blue Light Do Blue Light Glasses Block?

98% and above is a great pair of blue light blocking glasses and to be honest, the only type you should be spending your time considering.

If you are reading the numbers advertised on the box which are in the 70’s%, 80’s% even the low 90’s% for a pair of true night time wear, blue light blocking glasses, this is just not enough. 

If you are browsing the web or even in the store and this information about the percentage blocked is not obvious, or it’s hidden from you (potentially on purpose!), get out of the store and run the other way or close the tab immediately. 

Way to often companies produce blue light blocking glasses which are no better than a pair of safety glasses you often see on construction sites, like the pair shown below. 

Safety glasses | What Should I Look For in Blue Light Blocking Glasses?

Ultra-spec 2000 Safety EyewearOpens in a new tab. (see on Amazon) #ad

These “blue light blocking glasses” may look like they are doing a lot due to the sheer size and deep orange color however, don’t fall for the trap. 

The lenses seen in construction goggles might be deep orange and yes they can block a teeny tiny amount of blue light, but the lenses are not specifically designed to block out the blue light to really help you sleep and allow for a restful night of shut-eye.

On the other end of the spectrum, some companies will produce what looks like an attractive, “socially acceptable” product as the color orange is not so noticeable.

However, the key here is the amount of blue light that is actually being blocked.

Just ask yourself, is there any point changing your sleeping habits and spending money on something which doesn’t have much of a chance of working?

Remember, you want to buy these glasses for practicality, not fashion. We did find a pair which ticks both boxes, which we will explore later on. 

The second thing to think about when browsing for a pair of blue light blocking glasses is, what is the actual product being advertised?

Why is this important? 

Well, there are really two different types of these glasses on the market currently which target the blue light. These are either labeled “day” or “night” glasses.

And the goal of each type is vastly different in relation to the amount of blue light blocked.

  • DAY blue light blocking glasses have an almost clear lense and block between 40-80% of blue light between 400-450 nanometers (depending on the brand). We will chat more about these numbers later on. 
  • DAY glasses however, do allow a particular stream of blue light to still enter your eyes as it’s healthy for the brain and body clock to know that it’s day time and it should be awake. Blue light during the day can also increase alertness, memory and cognitive function.  

Therefore, day glasses are GREAT but should only be used during the day when on your device. Here are the day glasses we recommend through Swanwick Sleep.

Dan Day Blue light blocking glasses | What Should I Look For in Blue Light Blocking Glasses?
Here is an example of day blue light blocking glasses worn by my husband Dan while at his computer to stop the glare and headaches.

Whereas a typical pair of “night” blue light glasses are deeper in orange and aim to block 100% of the blue light. 

These are the glasses we chat more about throughout this post and have some images and videos later to explain more.

Therefore, when buying a pair of blue light blocking glasses… 

If the sign or advertising title says anywhere the product is actually, “blue light blocking day glasses” then yes you would expect these glasses to block a smaller amount of blue light in comparison to night glasses.

But remember, these are not the ones you should be wearing before bed. These are for computer/device/TV use only during the day.

Just remember…
Not all blue light is bad. We actually need it to help regulate the body clock and our sleep-wake cycle. This is particularly important for night shift workers and becoming in sync with our body clocks.

VIDEO – Blue Light Blocking Glasses: Guide to Clear vs Orange Lenses

Blue Light Blocking Glasses Cost

Basically, you get what you pay for.

The glasses which block more of the blue light WILL cost you more money, BUT they will have a better chance of doing the job. 

So in my opinion, it’s well worth spending $30-$40, sometimes even $50 more to get something which works.

Plus, it’s A LOT cheaper than a few months worth of sleeping pills.

Yes. My husband Dan and I are huge converts and blue light blocking glasses wearers after struggling to go sleep as night shift workers. 

They are now as essential as brushing our teeth at night. We will get into our recommendations later in the post, but first what else should you look for when buying blue light blocking glasses?

Bottom line
Aim for a pair of blue light blocking glasses which block over 95% of the blue light. Don’t settle for anything else despite an often smaller price tag.

Em and Dan wearing Blue Light Blocking Glasses | What Should I Look For in Blue Light Blocking Glasses?
Snazzy, huh?

Blue Light Blocking Glasses Buyers Guide

We mentioned in the introduction there are a bunch of things to consider when buying these glasses and making them a permanent part of your nightly schedule. 

The first thing is obviously the amount of blue light blocked which we already discussed, but here a few other questions I asked myself before getting a pair of blue light blocking glasses. 

How Sturdy Are the Hinges?

This was important to me as my last two pairs of glasses become stretched over time, easily falling off my nose.

Yes, it could have been that I put them on my head too often (which I don’t do anymore) but it was still super annoying. 

I have since found “spring hinges” to be the most sturdy and what our current blue light blocking glasses have which you can see below.

So take a look at the hinges and open and close the arms of the pair you are considering.

Do they feel like they could fall apart after a few short wears? Are they adjustable?

Swanwick sleep Swannies hinges | What Should I Look For in Blue Light Blocking Glasses?
Spring Hinge

What Material Are the Frames Made From?

Titanium, wood, plastic, acetate… what are you looking for to provide the ultimate comfort?

This is more a personal choice I wanted to include because I think it would be pretty silly to spend money on something which is cool in theory, but you just don’t want to wear them because you think they’re just plain ugly. 

There are SO many choices out there so if you find a brand which blocks your desired amount of blue light, ask about customizations.

You don’t know until you ask right?

For example, here is a pair of kids purple framed glasses and adult aviators. Click on each image to explore this option.

Are they FDA registered and is the lense backed up by any research which is easily accessible?

The Food and Drug Administration is a pretty big deal, ya’ll.

They are responsible for regulating pretty much everything you find in any store across America which is consumable.

But I wanted to let you in on something…the “FDA does not develop or test products before approving them.”

FACT: U.S Food and Drug Administration

“FDA does not develop or test products before approving them”.

Source (3)

I know. I was a little shocked too!

Instead, the staff at the FDA review all the previous testing which has been done on humans and animals by a range of different manufacturers.

They then decide if they should grant FDA approval. If yes, this means the “agency has determined that the benefits of the product outweigh the known risks for the intended use” (3).

SO what does that mean for us when buying blue light blocking glasses?

Well, if you see a company which states “FDA approved” this simply means that that product has successfully gone through this review process.

Some products which are high risk like a mechanical heart valve need a premarket approval application before being sold. While other lower risk items like breast pumps and elastic bandages, only go through a more general scanning process and most are exempt from premarket notification requirements.

I can’t say where blue light blocking glasses fit within the FDA process specifically, but I can say that it’s a good thing if a company advertises they are “FDA registered” but just be aware what that actually means.

Bottom Line
Look for the “FDA registered” description however just be aware that pre-approval to actually sell that product may not have occurred and no specific testing may have actually taken place.

UV Protection 

Is there any note about UV protection on the glasses you are considering?  

The funny thing you might be asking yourself is, why do I need UV protection if I am wearing them at night?

Great Question!

Blue light blocking or “night shift glasses” as they are commonly called are not tinted for sun glare as their primary job is to block out the artificial light and blue light coming from our digital devices.  

But people often ask anyway, can they be used as sunglasses?

For most, the answer will be no.

Even though they state having a 100% UV-rated lense and offer some protection from UV rays, that’s not really the point of them.

Your actual sunglasses, given they are UV protected and could offer polarized benefits too, will do a much better job at blocking the UV and reducing the sun glare. 

But what about when working the night shift?

We recommend using your normal sunglasses while traveling home as blue light blocking glasses can start making you sleepy.

But as soon as you get home – slide on your blue light blocking glasses and begin winding your body down for sleep.  

However, if either walking home or taking public transport, it would be okay to wear your blue light glasses after a shift. 

You can read more about driving after a night shift in a recent post we published here.

Is Customization Available?

Are you able to add custom prescription lenses and still maintain blue light blocking properties?

This is huge for those who rely on reading of a night and don’t want to wear two pairs of glasses (like shown in the photo below).

That would be very uncomfortable and not very trendy! Plenty of companies will be able to assist you here.

When to Expect Results With Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Personally, it took about 1 -2 weeks to fall asleep quicker and wake up feeling less groggy. 

For my husband Dan it took a couple of days longer. 

But now, after wearing “blue light blockers” for about a year, we can never look back.

We recently went away for the weekend and forget to bring them with us and the results were interesting.

I slept okay which I think had something to do with the 25kms I had walked during the day exploring a new city but the thing I noticed was the glare and headaches I suffered due to watching TV and scrolling on my phone once we got home. 

Very rarely these days do I look at my phone at night without wearing my glasses.

Why would I?

I have found something which allows me to use my device AND sleep great, so why not use it?

How to Use Blue Light Blocking Glasses Effectively

Wear Them Every Night About 90 Minutes Before Bed.

I have found that the earlier I put them on when it’s night time the better the results. Don’t take them off to brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, cook, watch TV… anything where there is lights on.

Just keep wearing them until you are in bed and the lights are off.

Insider Tip
If you wake up in the middle of the night and you cannot go back to sleep, instead of just switching on the light to read or pick up your phone to mindlessly scroll, first put your glasses on.

Be Patient 

Don’t give up after 2-3 nights because they “don’t work.”

Some people reported they didn’t experience any difference in the first 3 weeks of wearing them. 3 weeks!

It takes your body a while to adjust to this new “thing” you’ve got going on. Be kind and don’t give up to early because it’s totally worth it in the end.

Buy a High-Quality Pair

I know I touched on this earlier, but don’t fall for a small price tag. Really investigate how much blue light is being blocked to make an informed decision.

The higher the amount blocked, along with everything we mentioned above, the better the results will be!.

SWANWICK'S BLUE LIGHT BLOCKING GLASSES REVIEW - Do the "swannies" really work? The Other Shift - Swannies and case
My pair of blue light blocking glasses

Our Recommendations for Blue Light Blocking Glasses

We HIGHLY recommend Swanwick Sleep Blue Light Blocking Glasses. 

These are the ones we have been using for over a year and recommend them to you without any hesitation. 

Why?

  • They work (instant results seen with decreased headaches and eye strain) – even as reported by insomnia suffers 
  • Their night shift “Swannies” as Swanwick Sleep call them, block over 99% of blue light up to 490 nanometers and over 98% up to 500 nanometers. Funny things start to happen to our sleep hormones when the light is between 450 and 480 nanometers. And damage to our retina can occur when the light is between 400 and 450 nanometers… 
  • They look nice and are comfortable to wear
  • The orange color is deeper than I was expecting. It’s not offensive but it takes some getting used to.
  • Well made, quality product
  • Strong hinges
  • Professional packaging with cleaning supplies and cloth case
  • Speedy, friendly customer service and advice

We recommend purchasing them through the Swanwick Sleep website here or by clicking on the direct link to explore their night shift glasses here. 

Here are a few photos with our Swannies.

Swanwick sleep night glasses x2 pairs
Night Specific blue light glasses
Night blue light blocking glasses x2 pairs
Different frame options
SWANWICK'S BLUE LIGHT BLOCKING GLASSES REVIEW - Do the "swannies" really work? The Other Shift - Daniel
Dan and his Swannies!
Full range of swanwick sleep prodcuts
Night and Day Glasses
Em wearing blue light blocking glasses otuside
Swanwick blue light blocking glasses - Review - The Other Shift
What else you get

You can check out below a video review we put together about Swanwick Sleep Blue Light Blocking Glasses.

We also did another full review of “Swannies” which you can check out here.

Summary: What Should I Look For in Blue Light Blocking Glasses?

Wearing a pair of blue light blocking glasses will not only protect your eyes and prevent diseases but they will also significantly help you sleep.

Knowing how much blue light is actually being blocked is the most important thing to note when buying a pair of blue light blocking glasses.

Enjoy the feeling and incredible results after you make your purchase… it will blow your mind and old sleeping pattern!

Cheers,

Emma signature | theothershift.com

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

Emma @ The Other Shift

Hey there! I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. Together with my husband Daniel, we run The Other Shift. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. I understand the challenges of fitting in exercise, maintaining relationships and getting enough quality sleep, but I'm excited to show you that it’s possible to do shift work and still thrive. Read more about us and our story here.

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