Blue Light Blocking Glasses Review
In what feels like 2 years ago but was most certainly less than 2 months ago, I decided I had had enough.
While I have been a lifelong by-hand note taker, I had switched over to computer note-taking to better align with the majority of my professors’ lecture and studying expectations, and to ease the weight burden on my back.
Spending more time on my computer – and dealing with one lecture hall’s fluorescent light problem – meant I was getting headaches more frequently (I have had headaches pretty consistently since elementary school that get worse during seasonal allergy season, but this was the middle of winter and none of my normal strategies seemed to be working!).
On a whim one evening, after reading this succinct but insightful review from a fellow school-centric person, I purchased a pair of blue-light blocking prescription glasses from Zenni Optical for something like $26.
My order was delayed due to factory shutdowns in China during the height of their Covid-19 crisis, which at the time felt like a distant problem (albeit a scary one).
But when they arrived, I immediately put them on and haven’t looked back. Here are some questions I had, answered by my experience:
1 | Do they work?
Yes, I think so. While I haven’t been completely headache-free in the month+ since I’ve been wearing these glasses, the severity and consistency of headaches have decreased, and I find I am better able to focus my eyes on screens and in questionably-lit rooms for longer periods of time than before.
2 | Does it alter screen color?
Not considerably. I was worried that if I edited photos with these on, the images would come out overly-yellow, but after switching back and forth between these and my regular glasses, I haven’t noticed a significant difference. Plus, in my case, I like to “warm up” most of my photos anyway, so slight shifts in color don’t affect my satisfaction with the finished product.
3 | Was the prescription right?
Yes, I had no adjustment period with these, which leads me to believe the prescription is correct. I mention this because, with such an inexpensive product, one may be concerned that the quality is sub-par, but I haven’t experienced any issues.
4 | Are the frames sturdy?
I had very little income in February, so I selected one of the least expensive frames from Zenni. But these are really sturdy and pleasantly flexible.
5 | Any tips for selecting a frame when you’re headache-prone!
youI asked! Yes! If you are someone who has eye sensitivity and frequently experiences pressure and eye-strain related headaches, the frames you choose can matter just as much as the lenses.
- Avoid reflective plastic frames and other finishes that have the effect of creating concentrated light that glares into your eyes.
- If you do go with a non-matte frame, consider larger ones to make some room between them and your eye area.
I learned this the hard way when I ordered both cat-eye frames and large, 1980s frames from Retrospecced. The cat-eyes are so elegant and fun, but the combination of them sitting close to my eye and having a shiny, reflective metal detail means they give me eye strain after a few hours, whereas the larger vintage frames don’t cause those types of issues.
6 | Is Zenni Optical ethical?
Zenni Optical’s factories, like those of almost all glasses companies, are based in China. While it is doubtful that they maintain a high ethical standard, it is equally doubtful that those 1-for-1 companies that tout themselves as ethical are adhering to higher standards.
The best option for sustainable and ethical frames is vintage, but you’ll still need to put in new lenses. I saw this purchase as a medical investment and, as such, it was a choice I felt comfortable with.
7 | How do I add blue-light blocking lenses to my order?
You can do so during the ordering process after you input your prescription.
My suggestions for Zenni frames in a lower price range:
Top: One / Two / Three; Bottom: One / Two / Three (these are the ones I have)
If you have any other questions, ask away in the comments.
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.
Saturday 4th of April 2020
I've been wearing blue light filtering glasses for over 4 years now, and one thing I always tell people in relation to the topic is that it's important to do your research because not all of these glasses are created equal; some filter at a higher percentage than others. I have one pair with yellow lenses that filter 80% of the light, and a clear lens pair that only filters 10%. When I bought my first pair (the clear lens), I didn't realize this and was disappointed with the very low filtration of only 10%. That's when I researched and bought the yellow lenses with the higher filtration. I only wear my mine at home when I'm working on the computer, but I understand most people don't want yellow glasses in public. In that case, it's also important to research brands because some brands offer clear lenses with higher filtration percentages than others. A lot of brands don't even divulge how much light their glasses filter, and I find that lack of transparency suspicious.
Saturday 4th of April 2020
Thanks for the info. These have a slight yellow tint, enough that a friend thought they were transitions lenses, but they look pretty clear in most lighting. I couldn't find much information around filtration rates. They did come with a blue light pen that you can use to "test" the light blocking, which is gimmicky but sort of interesting. I have a migraine-prone friend who wears red lenses.
Friday 3rd of April 2020
Ahh love this! I'm wearing mine now. I would also suggest the higher price anti-reflective coating if you have the budget for it--I didn't get it on this pair but have it on a previous pair of Zennis and it does make a difference!
Friday 3rd of April 2020
Good advice! Thanks!