Copper, orange, yellow/amber and brown lens tints make an environment appear brighter and are commonly used in low-light conditions. These lens tints significantly block blue light and enhance contrast and depth perception making them helpful for overcast, hazy and foggy conditions.
Blue light, with its shorter wavelength, scatters easier than other colors and makes focusing on an object more difficult. Removing blue light, therefore, improves sharpness and depth perception and reduces eye fatigue. However, these lens tints do cause some degree of color distortion, though brown/bronze lenses do so considerably less than do yellow/amber or orange lenses.
Professional drivers prefer Brown and Copper tinted lenses for increased visual clarity, but they also enhance the color red. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize how important the color red is for drivers. Brake lights, stop lights and tail lights are all red and they really stand out when wearing brown and copper colored lenses. The easier it is to see these important warning signals the faster you can react.
When it comes to wearing yellow and amber tints, we commonly see baseball players, golfers, cyclists and hunters preferring this color. Yellow lens tints really shine in overcast and hazy conditions because the extra water vapor in the air increases the scattering of blue light. The extra blue light in these conditions decreases our visual acuity and depth perception. This makes our eyes work harder and results in greater eye fatigue and in some cases headaches.
Yellow tinted lenses are also beneficial to people who spend a considerable amount of time in front of a computer screen. In today’s modern world the amount of time spent on electronic devices is constantly increasing. And these electronic screens produce a lot of blue light. Wearing yellow/amber tinted eyewear while using your computer, game console or smartphone blocks the blue light emitted by the screen, which reduces eye fatigue and strain caused by the blue light.
Recent studies show new uses for lens tints that block blue light with potentially significant health benefits. Consider the following uses for these lenses:
- Sleep problems – Excessive light, especially blue light given off by computer screens, televisions and ambient light in most homes, suppresses melatonin. Melatonin, our natural sleep hormone, helps us get to sleep. For those struggling falling asleep, wearing lenses that block blue light for an hour before bed may prevent melatonin suppression, thereby allowing individuals to fall asleep more quickly and easily.
- Bipolar disorder – Preliminary research shows that blocking blue light may help stabilize mood for individuals suffering from some forms of bipolar disorder. According to Dr. Jim Phelps, this dark therapy works basically the opposite way as light therapy for depression. Phelps’ research on the subject indicates that “amber colored lenses, which block blue light, can help regulate the mood of those suffering from bipolar disorder, insomnia, sleep deprivation as well as other maladies.”
- Macular degeneration – Excessive blue light from sunlight may be one cause of age-related macular degeneration. This eye disorder exists at the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. What is Low Vision? says, “Many people with macular degeneration have reduced color vision and reduced contrast vision. The use of yellow, amber and brown lenses can improve contrast vision and make it easier to see, especially in bright light””natural light or light that comes from bulbs.”
While copper lenses block blue light better than the other lens tints, they may be too dark for many to wear inside. Yellow/amber, orange brown/bronze lenses still block enough blue light without the dimming effect and can still produce some of the same benefits mentioned above.
Blue Light Exposure
More research is needed, but exposure to blue light clearly has a significant impact on general health. In addition to causing color distortion and potential eye strain and damage, blue light may also increase cancer risk and have connections to diabetes and obesity. In fact, melatonin suppression by nighttime light exposure, according to integrative health specialist Chris Kresser, “has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer, impair immune system function, and possibly lead to cardiometabolic consequences such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and heart disease.”
Because of its harmful potential, in addition to wearing lens tints that block blue light, consider also replacing night lights with dim, red lights to reduce exposure to blue light when trying to sleep, avoiding television and computer screens an hour or two before bed, and getting more natural light during the day to help regulate the body’s natural rhythms.
Finding ways to regulate exposure to blue light may not only help you sleep better, preserve eyesight and stabilize mood, it may also go a long way in benefiting overall wellness and longevity. Take time today to assess your situation to determine if blue light may be having a significant impact on your health.
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