Written by: Michael Eldridge August 21, 2014
Copper, orange, yellow/amber and brown/bronze lens tints make your environment appear brighter and are commonly used in low-light conditions. These lens tints 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 more difficult. Removing blue light therefore improves sharpness and depth perception and reduces fatigue. Note: 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.
Common users of copper, orange, yellow/amber and brown/bronze lens tints include baseball players, golfers, hunters and cyclists, as well as, those playing indoor sports and water sports. Individuals spending a considerable amount of time in front of a computer screen also find yellow/amber tints helpful because they reduce eye fatigue and strain by blocking blue light.
The specific lens tint – copper, orange, yellow/amber or brown/bronze – depends on individual preference and situation.
Recent studies are showing new uses for lens tints that block blue light, and the potential applications would have significant impact for many individuals. Consider the following:
Sleep problems – Studies show that 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 in the opposite way as light therapy for depression.
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.
Based on this research, consider wearing copper, orange, yellow/amber or brown/bronze lens tints if you struggle falling asleep, have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or want to prevent age-related macular degeneration.
While copper lenses block blue light better than the other lenses mentioned, they may be too dark for many to wear inside. Yellow/amber, orange and brown/bronze lenses still block enough blue light without the dimming effect to still produce some of the same benefits mentioned above.
More research is needed, but exposure to blue light clearly has significant impact. In addition to the potential effects mentioned above, blue light may also increase cancer risk as well as have possible connections to diabetes and obesity.
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.