Do Polarized Sunglasses Block Blue Light?

Reviewed by:
Samuel Wallace

The eternal quest for the perfect pair of sunglasses isn’t just a fashion endeavor; it’s a mission for eye protection. In this digital age, where screens are as ubiquitous as the air we breathe, you’ve been pondering a critical question: do polarized lenses block blue light?

Polarized sunglasses are primarily designed to reduce glare. They can indirectly limit some blue light exposure. However, they aren’t as effective as specialized blue-light-blocking glasses. Some models, though, are adept at reducing blue light.

Let’s unravel this optical puzzle together and ensure your eyes are well-protected.

Understanding Blue Light and Its Effects

What is Blue Light and Where Does It Come From?

A type of visible light is blue light, which has a wavelength between 400 and 495 nanometers. It’s characterized by its short wavelength and high energy. We increasingly rely on artificial sources of blue light in our daily lives, in addition to the sun.

These include digital screens (like computers, smartphones, and televisions), certain types of indoor lighting, and even some LED lights.

We have become increasingly exposed to blue light due to the omnipresence of electronic devices, especially after sunset. This shift in our light consumption patterns has sparked a range of studies and discussions about the potential effects of blue light on our health.

Health Implications of Blue Light Exposure

1. Digital Eye Strain

It is important to avoid prolonged screen exposure. You can experience neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision from digital eye strain. 

A study from the University of Toledo found that blue light exposure might lead to macular degeneration by transforming vital molecules in the eye’s retina into cell killers.

2. Sleep Disruption

It is known that blue light alters melatonin production, resulting in a disruption of sleep patterns. A Harvard study demonstrated that exposure to blue light in the evening can shift the circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep. 

Various health consequences can result from sleep disruptions, including weakened immune systems and increased disease risks.

3. Potential Risk of Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration may be associated with prolonged exposure to blue light. When blue light is overexposed to the retina’s cells, it may cause the cells to damage, and this can cause vision loss.

4. Mood and Well-being

Blue light exposure may affect mood, especially at night. A study published in Translational Psychiatry found that blue light exposure at night has been linked to depression. This disruption is believed to be connected to changes in the circadian rhythm and sleep patterns.

The Role of Color in Polarized Sunglasses

The color or tint of polarized sunglasses plays a pivotal role in determining how they interact with light, especially blue light. Different shades can offer varying degrees of blue light protection, and their effectiveness is often influenced by the specific activities or conditions they are designed for.

Do Different Tint Colors Affect Blue Light Blocking?

Different tints in polarized sunglasses have unique properties that can influence their ability to block blue light. 

Here’s a tabular breakdown of how various tints can minimize blue light exposure:

Tint ColorBlue Light Blocking PropertiesBest Use Cases
Yellow or AmberEffective in filtering out blue light. Often found in “blue-blocking” or “blue-light-blocking” glasses.Ideal for low-light conditions, enhancing contrast and reducing glare.
Blue/PurpleEnhances color perception, defines shapes and lines of objects, and reduces glare from water and snow.Suitable for foggy or misty conditions.
Red/PinkCan block blue light and improve depth of field. Enhances the clarity of object details.Beneficial for skiing and other winter sports.
Amber/BrownIncreases brightness in cloudy conditions, filters blue light, and improves depth perception.Suitable for both indoor and outdoor sports like golf or baseball.
GreyProvides neutral color perception and reduces overall brightness without color distortion.General-purpose use, especially in bright sunlight.
GreenOffers a balanced color perception and contrast.Useful for varying light conditions.

Choosing the Right Polarized Sunglasses to Combat Blue Light

However, not all polarized sunglasses are created equal in terms of blue light protection. The effectiveness of these sunglasses in blocking blue light varies based on the lens tint, material quality, and design.

Model NameBlue Light Blocking Percentage
Blackview BG80299.44%
Wiley X Tide SunglassesApprox. 95% (Gold Mirror Lens)
Carrera 155/SApprox. 94%
Oscar Wylee (Brown, Grey, Green Tints)Approx. 93%

Wrap Up!

In the quest for the perfect pair of sunglasses, the question of blue light blocking has become increasingly relevant, especially in our screen-dominated world. 

While polarized sunglasses excel in reducing glare, their ability to block blue light is not their primary function and varies based on factors like lens tint and material quality. 

For instance, yellow or amber tints are more effective in filtering out blue light compared to grey tints. In summary, if blue light protection is your primary concern, specialized blue-light-blocking glasses are a more reliable choice.