Overall Benefits

Copperorangeyellow/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.

Popular Uses

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.

Computer Glasses

Computer users can help reduce eye fatigue and strain with computer safety glasses.

Health Benefits

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 people 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, brown, and /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.”

Blue Light Exposure

If your brain is not producing enough melatonin, due to blue light exposure, you may find it harder to fall asleep.

Because of its harmful potential, consider replacing night lights with dim red lights to reduce exposure to blue light when trying to sleep. Avoid watching television and using computer screens an hour or two before bed. Spend more time outdoors, getting more natural light during the day helps 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.

Tell us what you think

Do you have questions or comments about this article? We’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.

By | 2017-06-02T17:56:13+00:00 February 18th, 2016|All Posts, Featured Post, Safety Tips|35 Comments

About the Author:

Michael Eldridge is a US Marine Veteran and the founder of SafetyGlassesUSA.com. He's passionate about protective eyewear and promoting vision safety. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, fishing, CrossFit, mountain biking, camping with his family and watching Detroit Tigers baseball.

35 Comments

  1. Scott Swanson September 3, 2014 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Do safety glasses block UVA and / or UVB radiation?

    • Michael Eldridge September 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      Yes. Safety glasses with polycarbonate lenses block 99.9% of UVA/UVB rays without any extra or special coatings.

  2. Troy N Book October 11, 2016 at 1:10 am - Reply

    Is there a polarized, yellow tinted, bifocal, pair of Safety glasses on the market that is Z 87 compliant?

    • Michael Eldridge October 31, 2016 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Troy,

      Thank you for your question. There are a few bifocal safety glasses available in a Yellow lens tint, unfortunately, none of them are polarized.

  3. Tami December 10, 2016 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Michael would you know of tinted contact lenses would have the same protective on blue light as the spectacles?

    • Michael Eldridge December 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      Hi Tami,

      I’m not aware of any contact lens brands that block blue light.

  4. Celeste Wiberg December 30, 2016 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Great article. I had insomnia for 40 years until I discover glasses to block blue light.
    Thanks! Celeste, Menlo Park. CA

  5. Paul Berry February 25, 2017 at 2:00 am - Reply

    Will amber/yellow/brown tint glasses help block the glare from these new auto headlights? The intense blue/white light from newer vehicles is blinding.

    • Michael Eldridge February 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for submitting your question.

      I don’t recommend wearing tinted eyewear for nighttime driving. Tinted lenses will slightly reduce headlight glare, but they also reduce necessary ambient light, which presents a danger with already dark conditions.

      Experts recommend, and I can vouch for this, cleaning the inside of your vehicle’s windshield will provide more benefit than wearing tinted eyewear. The haze that builds up on the inside of a windshield causes the light from oncoming headlights to refract and scatter, which amplifies the glare and discomfort.

      Other than the suggestions above, there is no perfect or ideal type of night driving glasses. There are simply too many variables. A person’s sensitivity to light, natural ability to see in the dark, varying environmental light conditions and driver objectivity have to be considered.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  6. Lucy March 3, 2017 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I have a pair of Lens Cover Fit Over Polarized sunglasses with brown lenses. The product description does not say that they can block blue light. Do I need to buy a pair of sunglasses with amber or yellow lenses, for using PC and TV, to help me sleep? Should they also be the polarized kind?

    • Michael Eldridge March 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Lucy,

      Thanks for submitting your question.

      LensCovers does use UV400 technology, so harmful UV rays are being blocked for you. That’s good. Virtually all brown lenses block some level of blue light, so your brown lenses will naturally block additional blue light up to a particular wavelength — perhaps around 430-450nm. That will help. Of course, the amount of blue light they block will vary with the actual lens tint and the manufacturer, among other things. The brown lenses you own will not block as much blue light as those of the BluGard line that we sell. However, they may still be adequate for your needs. Only you can determine if you are falling asleep and staying asleep sufficiently after using your brown lenses.

      Please note: polarized lenses will NOT offer any additional blue light blocking benefit in your indoor, nighttime application. You may even find that some polarized lenses cause subtle color or pattern distortion on your monitor or TV screens. This is perfectly normal when viewing screens through polarized lenses.

  7. Lucy March 12, 2017 at 3:55 am - Reply

    According to http://www.fitoverusa.com/jonathan-paul-lens-info,

    Amber polarized carbonated – luminous transmittance value (Tv) = 13.65%; blue light filter: 95.16%
    Yellow polarized – luminous transmittance value (Tv) = 30.76%; blue light filter: 96.44%

    That website does not mention copper lenses or orange lenses. Why are copper lenses advertized as a good blue blocker? They look like brown lenses, which you say are a partial blue blocker. Your Bluegard Line has sunglasses with orange lenses. Is orange a better blue blocker than amber or yellow?

    • Michael Eldridge March 13, 2017 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Lucy,

      Thank you for submitting your comment.

      Is orange a better blue blocker than amber or yellow? Usually.

      When terms like Blue-Blocker were introduced many years ago, they were used in the context of sunglasses which, among those used for such a purpose (blocking blue light), were usually some form of copper, dark amber or bronze. For typical sunglasses, wearers choose a lens tint that is comfortable for them. “Comfortable” usually means a soothing, pleasing color that may or may not enhance colors and contrast. But it generally doesn’t refer to one that distorts color perception too much.

      While all variants of tints in what I consider the brown family (Brown, Bronze, Copper, Orange, Yellow, Amber) block some level of blue light, the amount of blocking varies from one tint to another. Copper is/was considered the Blue Blocker because it blocked the most blue light of those tints that would typically be used for sunglasses: brown, bronze, dark amber (not to be confused with light amber or yellow). Orange was never in the conversation because it was never used as a sunglass tint. This is probably due to two key factors. First, most oranges have a light transmission in the 35-50% range, and most people like their sun blocking lenses to be darker, around 10-20% light transmission. Second, orange distorts color perception more than any of these lens tints. The amount of color distortion we see through orange is more than most people are comfortable with for long-term use, especially outside where we like to see green grass, green trees, blue sky, etc.

      The development of orange lenses is more recent than that of the other colors. Even newer still is the understanding of how much blue light is blocked by most orange lenses. But just like different brown lenses can vary from other browns, and coppers can differ from other coppers, not all orange lenses are created equal. There is a range of blue light blocking just as there is a range of overall light transmission. But it’s fair to say that, on average, orange will block more blue light than other colors. The orange lenses used for our BluGard nighttime eyewear block 100% of blue light up to 540nm. That’s staggering if you think about it. Is it the most comfortable lens tint for general daily use? No. It does distort color perception. But for those who need to block blue light in the evening so that they can sleep more easily, it absolutely serves that function.

      The amount of blue light blocking that JP indicates on their website for their Amber and Yellow lenses is higher than we typically see for those tints — especially the yellow. That doesn’t mean it’s not true. It’s just uncommon to block that much with those tints. It helps that their yellow is a dark, polarized yellow with a light transmission under 31%. This is much different than most yellow lenses in the mid-80% range. Not all eyewear manufacturers make a copper lens. It could be that their dark amber takes the place of and matches most of the benefits of a copper lens. I would have to see that lens up close to know for sure.

      To sum all this up, I can say that, while it depends on the specific lens, orange will usually block more blue light than other colors. Often it will come down to what a wearer is using the glasses for and what their environment will be during that time.

      I hope that helps.

  8. Jamal March 30, 2017 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Michael,

    I would like to know if wearing amber glasses during daylight in bright sun will increase the brightness and UV or not ? is there any danger to eyes if people are wearing amber glasses in daylight. Will that cause any damage to eyes?

    • Michael Eldridge March 30, 2017 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Jamal,

      Thanks for submitting your question.

      No, wearing Amber tinted polycarbonate lenses will not cause damage to your eyes in daylight conditions. My eyes are light sensitive, so wearing Amber lenses on a sunny day would feel uncomfortable to me, but my eyes would not be damaged. Amber tinted polycarbonate lenses block 99.9% of harmful UV light, so you don’t have to worry about increased UV exposure. Keep in mind, you should never look directly at the sun, even with dark sunglasses.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  9. Nick April 8, 2017 at 3:17 am - Reply

    Can wearing yellow tinted plastic lenses hurt ur eye sight at all?

    • Michael Eldridge April 10, 2017 at 3:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for submitting your question. Please see my response to Jamal above.

  10. Drew May 5, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Because the nighttime glasses are said to block 100% of all blue light, does this mean they can protect your eyes from all the bad light that comes from computers and TVs? I don’t care about color distortion so I’m really considering getting a pair just for computer/TV use. Would you say that this is a good idea especially since i spend hours everyday looking at screens? Or would you recommend I get a different type of glasses.

    • Michael Eldridge May 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Drew,

      Thanks for submitting your question.

      Depending on how sensitive you are to blue light, you may not need to block 100%. For example, Gunnar Computer/Gaming Eyewear blocks 65% of harmful blue light in the 380-470nm range, which is usually sufficient to alleviate most blue light symptoms. Plus, Gunnar Eyewear allows you to keep the majority of your color recognition.

      If Gunnar Eyewear is outside your budget, then any pair of safety glasses with yellow lenses would be a good start. We offer several styles for under $8.00. I would only recommend using a bronze/brown lens if you need maximum blue light protection because the color distortion is greater than a yellow lens color.

  11. L. Villalva May 11, 2017 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Hello Michael, I saw your response to Jamal about daylight wear and I have a follow up question for you. I have a group of technicians who work indoors and outdoors in Arizona. We deal with a lot of sunshine down here and I have a hard time getting them to consistently wear their safety glasses. The excuses range from too bright to wear clear ones to can’t see inside with the smoked ones. Any suggestion on a lens color that can either do well in both bright sun and indoor conditions or one that you would recommend primarily for bright sun? After all, most of the conditions that concern me are usually outdoors.

    • Michael Eldridge May 11, 2017 at 5:53 pm - Reply

      Hi L. Villalva,

      Thank you for submitting your question.

      The situation you’re describing can be tricky due to the drastic difference between bright sunlight and indoor lighting, especially for a single lens color. Here’s a list of possible solutions that my staff came up with.

      1. Bolle’s Twilight Lens may offer a happy medium between a clear and dark lens. The Brown lens color is soothing to the eyes, blocks 43% of visible light and 76% of Blue light. The Twilight lens is a tad darker than traditional Indoor/Outdoor lenses, but it doesn’t have the mirrored coating.
      2. You could try safety glasses with Photochromic lenses. However, besides being more expensive, Photochromic lenses have some cons you should be aware of. Here’s a link to one of our articles about Photochromic Safety Glasses.
      3. Issue two pairs of safety glasses to each technician. Supplying a pair of clear and tinted safety glasses would ensure they have the correct lenses no matter what lighting conditions they’re exposed to. Obviously, this means they have to keep track of multiple pairs of safety glasses, and loss or forgetfulness may become an issue.

      Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions.

  12. David June 4, 2017 at 3:59 am - Reply

    What about smoke and mirror lens, do they block bkue light from computer screens?

    • Michael Eldridge June 6, 2017 at 2:12 pm - Reply

      Hello,

      Thanks for submitting your question.

      Traditional Smoke/Gray lenses do not block a significant amount of blue light. However, Uvex’s SCT (Spectrum Control Technology) Gray Lens does block 93% of blue light, but this lens is too dark for indoor use. Most mirrored lenses coatings do not provide a significant reduction in blue light transmission.

  13. Helga G. Ardal July 4, 2017 at 5:38 am - Reply

    Hi!
    I just learned today that eyeglasses with orange lenses are beneficial for people with a migraine. My daughter is struggling with difficult migraines and gets headaches daily. While we are treating this with a doctor and exploring diet options I was wondering if I should buy her some glasses to help her out.

    Can you recommend a type that a fifteen-year-old fashionista girl would approve of? Have you heard of these claims and what do you think of them, if so?
    Thank you.

    • Michael Eldridge July 6, 2017 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      Hi, Helga,

      Thanks for submitting your question.

      Finding a treatment that helps reduce the symptoms of Migraine headaches can be tricky, and I’m definitely not an expert. However, research has demonstrated cases were wearing tinted lenses can help some people who suffer from Migraine headaches due to light sensitivity. In fact, we wrote a recent blog article about tinted lenses and Migraines. The colors Orange, Yellow, Brown, and Copper, block a significant amount of Blue light, which is known to cause eye strain and fatigue. I’m not sure if light sensitivity is contributing to your daughter’s headaches, but wearing some tinted eyewear is worth a shot. Keep in mind, you may need to experiment with lens colors until you find one that provides the most benefit.

      Finding stylish frames with Orange lens options can be a bit tricky because this combination is typically designed for industrial and shooting range applications. You can browse our selection of Safety Glasses with Orange Lenses here. However, the options for Yellow tinted lenses opens up significantly. We’ve had several customers mention Gunnars Digital Eyewear, which has some cute styles for women, has reduced eye strain and the onset of headaches, but none of them specifically said Migraines.

      Basically, you’ll need to experiment until you find something that works. You may find that wearing tinted eyewear does nothing, but I’m inclined to believe it will provide some help. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck.

  14. John McNamara July 8, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Michael – I started wearing orange (“persimmon”) lensed sunglasses years ago for my bike commute, then added yellow and recently i like a rose or some form of red. These tints tend to relax my eyes more and I’ve found that I put them on for everything.
    What’s interesting is that almost every person who tries my sunglasses immediately takes them off complaining that they’re “too bright!!!” I consider my eyes to be extremely light sensitive (driving at night is painful due to headlights), but I do not like the darker lenses. These lighter tints lift my mood. Maybe the emotional impact on me is unusual and why my preferences are where they are? Any ideas?

    • Michael Eldridge July 11, 2017 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Hi John,

      Thanks for leaving a comment.

      When it comes to light sensitivity and lens color preferences, everyone is different. Even in our small office, we’ve noticed significant differences in lens color preferences depending on light conditions. Personally, I enjoy Brown Lenses versus any other color. To me, Brown Lenses are incredibly soothing and have the added benefit of making the color Red really stand out, which in my opinion makes them the perfect driving lens.

      The good news is your Rose colored lenses make you happy, and you don’t have to worry about hurting your eyes. Even if other people think your choice of lens color is too bright for them, your not in any danger. Especially if your glasses use polycarbonate lenses because they block 99.9% of all harmful UV radiation.

  15. Dean McIntosh July 20, 2017 at 6:11 am - Reply

    Would using smoke or blue lens safety glasses help(healthwise)while working a night shift 10pm-6am inside a factory? Or is clear lens the way to go? Thank you

    • Michael Eldridge July 28, 2017 at 5:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Dean,

      Thanks for submitting your question.

      The first thing you need to do is check with your safety coordinator and make sure tinted lenses are allowed in your facility.

      If you’re suffering from eye fatigue or sleeping problems I would recommend wearing a light yellow or light brown lens color. The Bolle ESP lens is a perfect example.

      If you perform regular visual inspections or there is an excessive amount of yellow or sodium vapor light, then I would recommend a light-blue lens.

  16. David July 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Hello, and thanks so much for making yourself available to answer questions!

    I am a golfer looking for sunglasses that will enhance contrast, but also reduce glare. These would be “dual use” sunglasses, as I don’t really want to buy one pair for driving and one pair for golf. Additionally, they need to be prescription, and I have a need a very strong prescription in my right eye (+6.25?).

    Any thoughts here as to which way I should go with lens type/color? I have heard amber and rose are best for golf….

    Thanks so much!

    David Ober

    • Michael Eldridge July 28, 2017 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      Hi David,

      Thank you for submitting your question.

      A dual-purpose golf lens can be a bit tricky because the requirements for golf and everyday sunglasses are usually different.

      Typically, a golf specific lens will feature a rose-like tint, as this color naturally mutes greenery and enhances the view of a white ball. A perfect example is Oakley’s Prizm Golf series. The next best lens color would be light to medium copper or standard bronze. You won’t have as much contrast with a white ball as a rose tinted lens, but this color makes for a better everyday tint.

      Since you need prescription sunglasses, I recommend you look at the golf specific category at SportRx.com. They have an extensive assortment of brand/styles, and their prescription services are top notch.

      • David October 16, 2017 at 4:43 pm - Reply

        Thank you so much for providing this service! 🙂

  17. Kevin Donohue August 14, 2017 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Mr. Eldridge, Thanks for a very interesting article! I see by your shorten bio that you very well may be the perfect person to ask. I am new to shooting competitive long range rifle matches (500-1000 yds), and we use an electronic scoring system. On particularly sunny days I will wear my Oakley ballistic sunglasses with virtually black lenses. We are permitted to use personal tablets on the line tied into the scoring record, however; seeing the screen is impossible with these lenses. Will the orange (variants) you mention above allow reading of a tablet screen without needing to flip my sunglasses repeatedly? Thank you in advance.

    • Michael Eldridge August 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for submitting your question.

      It sounds like your Oakley sunglasses may have polarized lenses. Due to the way polarized lenses filter light, they often cause digital screens to appear black and unreadable. Sometimes, rotating the screen from portrait to landscape will help, but it’s not guaranteed.

      If your sunglasses don’t have polarized lenses, then switching to a different lens color may help. I don’t know what brand of tablet you’re using, but I do know iPads screens are notorious for being hard to see in bright sunlight and different lens colors may have little effect.

  18. Kiki September 25, 2017 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    I can definitely attet to blue light affecting sleep. I’ve been using programns like f.lux and redshift for a few years now which allow you to control the “temperature” of your computer screen, so to speak. it significantly reduces blue light although the increased red wavelengths mess with colors. usually it’s no big deal though.

    One day, I’d disabled redshift in order to do some artwork since it was very color sensitive. I worked for several hours and had a lot of difficulty sleeping that night. I was confused at first then realised just hoew long I’d been exposed to blue light.

    Heck, I used the programs so much that blue light from screens hurts my eyes. I’ve even had to install a similar app on my phone because of it.

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