Why the Office Isn’t the Only Workplace Impacted by Blue Light

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In many work environments, you’re not allowed to start your day without proper eye protection. With the ever-growing reliance on blue light emitting devices in the workplace, and the sun’s overly generous blue light contribution to outdoor work settings, it might be a good practice to think of blue-light-reducing eyewear in the same regard.

If you’re unfamiliar with blue light, it’s the range of light with the highest amount of energy in the visible light spectrum (the light we can see). Modern devices like smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, televisions, LED and CFL lighting all emit blue light. Exposure to this high-energy light has been linked to digital eye strain in as little as two hours of exposure.*

An office setting typically houses the most forms of blue-light-emitting devices. From desktop monitors to smartphones to tablets to overhead LEDs and/or CFLs, it can feel like blue light is lurking around every cubicle and corner in corporate America.

But while desk jockeys are among those at risk of digital eye strain, they’re not the only ones exposed to blue light after punching in. Here’s a look a three other work environments you may be surprised to find are potential hotbeds for blue light exposure:

The Shop Floor (Industrial Settings) – While it’s not staring you in the face all day, if you’re working on a shop floor or similar workspace that’s lit by CFL or LED bulbs, you’re getting a daily dose of blue light. Much of today’s modern machinery has also made the shift from incandescent lighting to LED for distinct improvements in visibility.  But while it provides a cleaner, brighter light to guide your hand, it also provides a heftier dose of blue light to affect your eyes.

The Great Outdoors (Outdoor Settings) – Plying your trade in an outdoor occupation like construction, agriculture, or public service introduces blue light exposure from the sun. The sun is actually the biggest producer of blue light on the planet. And if you’re in an occupation like real estate where you’re working outdoors for extended periods while also running your business from your phone, you’re getting hit from above and below.

The OR, ER, and Beyond (Medical Settings) – For those who don’t work in a medical setting, you might just envision a sterile, white office and exam table striped with a wax paper protector. But doctors, nurses, and techs are constantly working under and in front of blue light emitters. Modern overhead lighting and equipment are powered by LEDs – and when they’re not in the OR, ER, or exam room, medical professionals are likely charting cases on computers.

So should you quit your job, buy an underground bunker and stay connected to the outside world via telegraph? You could, but you don’t have to. There are various optical solutions designed specifically to reduce your exposure to high-energy blue light whether you’re a Regional Sales Manager, a Receptionist, or a Recycling Engineer.

How to Reduce Your Blue Light Exposure at Work

TechShield Blue is a next-generation anti-reflective coating that absorbs and reflects the specific blue light wavelengths associated with digital eye strain. This near-clear coating is a great choice if you spend two or more hours a day in front of a screen or under an LED.

If you work outdoors, or spend your days going from inside to outside and back again, SunSync Light-Reactive Lenses offer convenience, comfort, and the confidence of targeted blue light filtration. Outdoors, SunSync lenses quickly darken, ramping up the defense against blue light and UV rays from the sun. Indoors, these ultra-responsive lenses quickly return to clear but the blue light defense remains solid.

Talk to your VSP eye doctor today about reducing your blue light exposure at work, home, and everywhere in between.


*The Vision Council, Eyes Overexposed: The Digital Device Dilemma,” 2016

This is a guest post from VSP Global employee, Paul J.


  • Kelly Lombardino says:

    Curious about the exposure of “Blue Light” devices purchased commercially to reduce or impact the reduction of face acne. These facial devices can be purchased from many stores and are generally priced around $100. My daughter is 19 and uses this device often daily. Are there vision or other concerns reported about this exposure? Thank you, Kelly

    • Angelina F. says:

      I’d encourage you to discuss any concerns she might have with her eye doctor and dermatologist. -Angelina F., VSP

  • Jim Redmer says:

    I find that the blue light that comes from “daylight” CFLs or LEDs actually makes it easier for me to see details and to read without glasses. If I’m actually damaging my eyes, why would the above be true?
    Is this in my head (pardon the pun)?

    • Courtney says:

      You are absolutely right in that brighter light helps you to see better. The damage to your retina occurs over time through the exposure to the higher intensity light.

  • walter kirkwood says:

    what is the difference in sun sync lenses and the more popular lens which i cannot remember the name of?

  • Michelle Cotton says:

    Thank you for your informative articles on blue light. Michelle Cotton

  • dan says:

    There is a German doctor/researcher who described the metablism of the retina and the blue half of the spectrum provides the energy that drives the metabolism of the retina which produces “free radicals” in the process. The red half of the spectrum produces the “antioxidants” needed to neutralize the free radicals in the retina. He predicts at a point in time where retina damage/loss of vision will be wide spread.

  • Marilyn Babich says:

    Please unsubscribe me from future emails.

  • Pat Keenan says:

    I work in a Public School District. Currently we have fluorescent overhead lights in all offices, schools, etc. How does this type of light source affect our eyes? If “blue light” is not good for us; what source of lighting can be used that will not be such a hazard?

  • Tammi says:

    Can you get non prescription lenses with this on it? I currently don’t need glasses, but I am in front of a computer 9 hours a day.

    • Angelina F. says:

      Yes, the lens coating can be applied to non-prescription lenses too.
      -Angelina F., VSP

    • Phyllis says:

      I’ve been wearing my no prescription lenses with the blue light protection coating and it’s definitely helped. I was getting terrible eyestrain before that and decided I needed this. It has been a noticeable difference in the way my eyes feel since I’ve been using them.

    • Jeff Anshel says:

      Despite the “panic call” in this article, just taking a few breaks will do fine for reducing eyestrain in front of a computer. Most desktop displays don’t use LED lights (check with the manufacturer of the monitor). The “eyestrain” they talk about is NOT due to blue light…….

  • Roseann Morgan says:

    Thank you for this valuable info. I was fitted for glasses with this coating in my eye doctors office on Monday, as I was having problems with computer glare!

  • Karen says:

    I’d never even heard of blue light until this article. Thanks for keeping us educated.

  • Lori says:

    Do the lights cause seizures or migraines in some people?

    • Angelina F. says:

      Hi Lori,
      This would be a great question for a doctor to answer, we’ll keep your question in mind for a possible future blog topic.
      -Angelina F., VSP

    • Jeff Anshel says:

      No- it’s “flickering” of lights that can trigger seizures and flat-panel displays don’t flicker very much. Dr. Jeff

  • CJ says:

    My eye doctor was talking to me today about blue light and prevention of the problem. Think I will chat a little more about this after reading your article. Thank you!

  • Dan Crowell says:

    What type of light reducing lenses do you recommend for programmers who stare at computer screens all day long?

    • Angelina F. says:

      Hi Dan,
      Your eye doctor can help you decide which lens enhancements are best for you. To find an eye doctor near you, try the Find A Doctor search on vsp.com.
      Angelina F., VSP

  • Deb Wilson says:

    What % of Blue Light is blocked by TechShield Blue and SunSync Light Reactive lenses ? Thank you so much.

  • Lori says:

    So…how much is too much?! I’m retired but still deal with computers, tablets, etc. for our home business. Plus we’re remodeling our home and just installed LEDs in both bathrooms. Is this enough for concern? Thanks for the article!

  • Mary Beth says:

    Can this coating be added to glasses I already wear?

  • Brenda says:

    I did not know about this until I read your article. I will definitely ask for this when I renew my prescription. Than you!

  • Darlene says:

    Can anything be done for people who wear contacts.

  • sally says:

    I was just fitted with new prescription glasses with the blue light reflective coating and the instant I put them on, the difference was very noticable as my perma-squint began to relax and my lids were able to open fully for the first time in years. My eye-doctor said this blue lights we’re being bombarded with can cause macular degeneration. Blue light reflective coating is highly recommended!

  • Jeff Anshel says:

    There is no solid scientific evidence that blue light CAUSES macular degeneration! Did your grandparents look at computer screens for years? Not likely and if they did, it would not have been LED screens! The relief you got was likely either from the prescription power in the lenses or the slight yellow tint that makes the image “pop” once the blue light is filtered. IF blue light was causing macular degeneration, would wouldn’t notice it “as soon” as putting on glasses!

  • Kim says:

    I second the question about adding the coating to contact lenses. I have gas permeable contacts. Can the coating be added to these?

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