SUNY Optometry Researchers: Blue-blocking filters are not effective for reducing digital eye strain

January 9, 2019
Digital Eye Strain
There is little evidence to support the use of blue-blocking filters to minimize near work–induced digital eye strain.

NEW YORK, January 9, 2019 — Blue-blocking filters are not effective for reducing digital eye strain according to research published in the January 2019 edition of Optometry and Vision Science by SUNY Optometry fourth-year student Tatsiana Palavets and professor Dr. Mark Rosenfield.

Many manufacturers market blue-blocking filters, which they claim will reduce the symptoms of digital eye strain, but there is limited evidence to support that digital eye strain results from the blue light emitted by these devices. Ms. Palavets and Dr. Rosenfield examined the effect of a blue-blocking filter on symptoms of digital eye strain during a sustained near-vision task.

Twenty-three young, visually normal subjects were required to perform a 30-minute reading task from a tablet computer. The digital screen was overlaid with either a blue-blocking or neutral-density filter producing equal screen luminance. During each session, the accommodative response, pupil diameter and vertical palpebral aperture dimension were measured at 0, 9, 19 and 29 minutes after the start of the reading task. Immediately following each session, subjects completed a questionnaire to quantify symptoms of digital eye strain. 

A blue-blocking filter that eliminated 99 percent of the emitted blue light was no more effective at reducing symptoms of digital eye strain than an equiluminant neutral-density filter.

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