Is blue light filter a gimmick?

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PixelDuck87
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Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by PixelDuck87 » 08 Oct 2021, 13:34

Do you guys think it does anything for your eye health? After googling some recent studies there seems to be no proof that blue light is causing us any harm. I've been using blue light filters for the past 8 years on my monitors. Now I'm so used to the yellow tint on my screens that without it the colors look weird to me. Maybe it's time to stop sacrificing color accuracy for a "gimmick" or what is your guys opinion on this?

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jorimt
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Re: Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by jorimt » 08 Oct 2021, 14:20

PixelDuck87 wrote:
08 Oct 2021, 13:34
Do you guys think it does anything for your eye health? After googling some recent studies there seems to be no proof that blue light is causing us any harm. I've been using blue light filters for the past 8 years on my monitors. Now I'm so used to the yellow tint on my screens that without it the colors look weird to me. Maybe it's time to stop sacrificing color accuracy for a "gimmick" or what is your guys opinion on this?
There's no more harm in blue light coming from our devices than when standing out in the sunlight (which is the most common source of blue light), much less, in fact. At worst, it will create eye strain after prolonged periods like staring at anything for too long, nothing more (let alone create permanent damage).

That said, what blue light does is suppress melatonin levels, which is what helps us start to feel sleepy (and thus helps us fall asleep) during nighttime hours (aka when the sun isn't out). This is where blue light filters can help; you can use them at night to prevent your screen from prolonging your wakefulness, but that's about it.
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Re: Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 12 Oct 2021, 15:25

My Blur Busters / TestUFO is already mentioned/credited/coauthor in more than 20+ peer reviewed research papers.

It's definitely not a gimmick, but sometimes certain benefits are exaggerated because some manufacturers implement it very poorly. Also, there are contamination by ambient environment (cheap LED bulbs that emit a lot of blue peaks, even for warm white LED bulbs, due to the LEDs they use)

There are multiple independent behaviours from blue light that are unrelated to each other:
- Mood effects or sleep effects (orange light is more relaxing than blue light)
- Short-term effects on eyes (some people eyes temporarily go blurry when staring at screens all day long)
- Long-term damage to eyes (like ultraviolet light; but blue light can still slowly harden your eye lens, requiring you to begin wearing glasses at age 45 instead of age 55)

The studies often only focus on one or the other.

Even if you don't fall asleep sooner, you may still have a better sleep -- some studies don't necessarily measure quality of sleep.

Long-term damage to eyes from screens is still very real. It's only a multiplier factor (e.g. making you wear glasses sooner or needing LASIK sooner) but it's real, and the problem is more pronounced for brighter high-blue-light screens)

Also, studies is fogged by many effects (like LED streetlamps and daylight LED bulbs) so removing blue screens may do nothing to accelerate your sleep nowadays because of how everything else went LED.

It's also why I prefer warm-white CRI 95 lighting nowadays (I pay extra for my LED bulbs), and anything below CRI 90 is not allowed to gbe screwed into my lightbulb sockets usually. And it is best to drapes closed so I don't see the outdoor blue-colored LED streetlamps. More cities are now switching to the better warmer LED streetlamps especially in residential neighborhoods, but some neighborhoods are bathed in really bright bluish-white light at night, so if you're unlucky, do some mitigations for that.
Definitely not gimmick but definitely exaggerated. Even if you eliminated sleep effects, you still have the other issues.

If I block out all the other blue light sources (lightbulbs, streetlamps, etc) -- when this happens I've eliminated a lot of blue light from other sources at night. Suddenly, one blue screen going to night mode, seems to make a bigger difference. Maybe not in sleep, but in keeping me calm. There's a lot of non-screen noise.

Even if this did not exist, there's still long term damage (blue light as a curing radiation to harden your eyes' lens and making you unable to clearly refocus between close objects and far objects -- you become more permanently nearsighted or permanently farsighted -- and need glasses). That long-term damage is more slow damage than ultraviolet, but still there. It's a work hazard for anyone who has to work with IT, programming AND on screens for a living -- me -- and I'm already getting some minor vision effects at age 47 -- Being farsighted I hold my smartphone at full arm extension now. Probably gonna LASIK my eyes to fix things up a bit. Just a matter of time.

Eventually might need lens-replacement surgery which is paid for by my Canadian health care system, it's a common eye surgery procedure in Canada, when your original eye lens are no longer able to change shape / full of cataracts / etc. In Canada, 1.1 million eyeball modifications are made by surgeons per year (all of them, from LASIK to cataract surgery). The screens do make the surgery happen a few years earlier nowadays.

Also, the LED spectrum of white is not identical. Low-CRI lights have a very sharp blue peak, even for warm LED lightbulbs. Which means all the green-blue light is redirected instead to increasing the amount of blue light and red light while leaving color temperature unchanged. So you've got sharp peaks at blue and red to create the warm white, with a very green-deficient part of the spectrum for low-CRI warm white LEDs. So sometimes the low-blue-light mitigations don't help as much as true fuller-spectrum LEDs with higher CRI that lowers the sharp blue peak of the LED spectrum. If you're buying cheap 50 cent Walmart LED bulbs, you might want to upgrade 'em to lower-blue-light LED light bulbs. One screen doesn't do a hoot of a difference if you have 100 cheap LED bulbs all over your house all simultaneously generating sharp blue peaks despite being warm-color bulbs. Getting these bulbs to CRI 93-95 makes a massive difference with a flatter color spectrum with less blue-light peak.

The low blue light on many cheap-backlight panels are slightly gimmicky in that they don't modify the backlight LEDs themselves but try to block some blue light by making blues darker. But you still have those sharp-ish blue peaks. Less so, but still there compared to some better backlights and others -- a new LED technology is ultraviolet LEDs that use phosphors to generate blue light, for a more fuller spectrum red/green/blue, then an UV filter to completely block the unused UV light -- this eliminates blue peaking completely. Not many lightbulbs use this ultraviolet-phosphor technology, but it's another method of eliminating the blue spectrum peaks.

Now...

This long-term damage from common blue-peaks of fluorescents/LEDs/etc, obviously, is completely unrelated to the sleep-issue part of blue light. But it's still another benefit of proper true low blue light in all aspects of life (office lighting, home lighting, screens you stare at). Whether this is a drop in the ocean, or a major improvement, depends on how blanket your mitigations are to push your need of eyeglasses another decade or so.
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Re: Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 12 Oct 2021, 15:47

jorimt wrote:
08 Oct 2021, 14:20
There's no more harm in blue light coming from our devices than when standing out in the sunlight (which is the most common source of blue light), much less, in fact.
This is true too. In many cases, people who work outdoors all their lives in bright environments -- often also need eyeglasses sooner too, as the blue light from outdoors starts to harden your eyes' lens. It's the hazards of being a human after all.

But if you're the kind who lives indoors most of the time, why not add some extra mitigations to slow down the long-term damage to your eyes? Might as well avoid bringing your outdoors eye damage indoors too.

It's a very diffuse benefit though (compared to measuring sleep effects), and hard to measure except from long-term studies. But long-term studies DO show people are having to wear glasses about 10 year sooner than they used to be.
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Re: Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by jorimt » 12 Oct 2021, 16:37

Chief Blur Buster wrote:
12 Oct 2021, 15:47
But long-term studies DO show people are having to wear glasses about 10 year sooner than they used to be.
Yup.

That, and with so many children now staring at blue light devices all day from a such young age with it very close to their faces, it probably doesn't help the long term development or conditioning of the eye's focusing muscles either, which may also contribute to the increase of early nearsightedness as well.

I'm nearsighted, and I'm pretty sure if I spent more time outside and forced my eyes to focus on greater and/or varying distances (without prescription glasses), instead of staring at a screen all day (occupational hazard), I may experience a marginal (note, very marginal, like squint-level) improvement to my farsighted vision over time (though some of that might be forgetting what it's like to see with glasses as well :lol:).

Some VR studies have suggested similar, though it's all pretty anecdotal.
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Markachy
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Re: Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by Markachy » 13 Oct 2021, 04:47

Chief Blur Buster wrote:
12 Oct 2021, 15:25

- Long-term damage to eyes (like ultraviolet light; but blue light can still slowly harden your eye lens, requiring you to begin wearing glasses at age 45 instead of age 55)

Long-term damage to eyes from screens is still very real. It's only a multiplier factor (e.g. making you wear glasses sooner or needing LASIK sooner) but it's real, and the problem is more pronounced for brighter high-blue-light screens)
I'm intrigued by these bits of info, as I have never heard or seen anything linking "everyday" (whether sun or screens) blue light to long-term damage to eyes such as is suggested above. Background: trainee medical physicist who has done work in non-ionising radiation protection, specifically UV and lasers (focused on protection of eyes and skin of staff and patients during UVA and UVB therapies, and laser eye surgeries).

I've never seen, or heard about, evidence suggesting that increased everyday blue light is causing people to need glasses 10 years earlier - is there any evidence out there for that? I would genuinely love to see some as it would be relevant to my work, but I fear it may be anecdotal/pseudoscientific. It doesn't make sense on a physical level - by spending more time indoors on screens than outside, we would reduce the levels of blue light entering our eyes due to the fact that outdoors sunlight contains blue light at vastly higher intensities than we get from any screens or other lights. So, by that logic, spending more times on screens indoors will actually significantly reduce the amount of blue light entering our eyes over our lifetime.

I am aware of the "epidemic" of glasses-wearing that is occurring, and that blue light may play some part. But, as far as I am aware, it is thought that spending far more time having to focus our eyes on closer, smaller text (ie, PC monitors/laptop screens/phones plus small text) is causing the eye issues, rather than any thoughts of blue light "curing" the lens. Historical evidence linking "intelligence" to a higher risk of eye focusing problems, as an example, is now thought to be a link to increased education and the consequential increase in time spent book-reading, staring at pages up close, i.e. spending a lot more time focused on small text up close - it isn't thought to be driven by blue light.

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Re: Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by jorimt » 13 Oct 2021, 13:47

Markachy wrote:
13 Oct 2021, 04:47
Historical evidence linking "intelligence" to a higher risk of eye focusing problems, as an example, is now thought to be a link to increased education and the consequential increase in time spent book-reading, staring at pages up close
Correct, before there were screens, there were books. I assume that's why people generally (historically) associate glasses wearers with nerds, libraries/reading, learnedness (etc), more than anything else.

Barring any general, gradual degeneration of the eyes or hardening of the lenses due directly to age, I'm not personally sure about the hardening factor of the lenses prematurely due to blue light exposure from devices, but as I noted in my previous reply, I have gathered there is some anecdotal evidence that suggests long term primary focus in the near plane (books, phones, etc) may condition the eyes' focusing muscles to a degree; strengthening them for near vision, and weakening them for far, whereas in "scavenging" times, we were forced to constantly focus on the multiplane.
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Re: Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 13 Oct 2021, 20:37

Markachy wrote:
13 Oct 2021, 04:47
I'm intrigued by these bits of info, as I have never heard or seen anything linking "everyday" (whether sun or screens) blue light to long-term damage to eyes such as is suggested above. Background: trainee medical physicist who has done work in non-ionising radiation protection, specifically UV and lasers (focused on protection of eyes and skin of staff and patients during UVA and UVB therapies, and laser eye surgeries).

I've never seen, or heard about, evidence suggesting that increased everyday blue light is causing people to need glasses 10 years earlier - is there any evidence out there for that? I would genuinely love to see some as it would be relevant to my work, but I fear it may be anecdotal/pseudoscientific. It doesn't make sense on a physical level - by spending more time indoors on screens than outside, we would reduce the levels of blue light entering our eyes due to the fact that outdoors sunlight contains blue light at vastly higher intensities than we get from any screens or other lights. So, by that logic, spending more times on screens indoors will actually significantly reduce the amount of blue light entering our eyes over our lifetime.

I am aware of the "epidemic" of glasses-wearing that is occurring, and that blue light may play some part. But, as far as I am aware, it is thought that spending far more time having to focus our eyes on closer, smaller text (ie, PC monitors/laptop screens/phones plus small text) is causing the eye issues, rather than any thoughts of blue light "curing" the lens. Historical evidence linking "intelligence" to a higher risk of eye focusing problems, as an example, is now thought to be a link to increased education and the consequential increase in time spent book-reading, staring at pages up close, i.e. spending a lot more time focused on small text up close - it isn't thought to be driven by blue light.
Thanks for chiming in.

There's a lot of material specific to screens -- e.g. Google Scholar Search "screen exposure affecting human vision".

There are multiple studies including studies that conflict with each other.

However, moderate amounts of outdoor exposure (like kids playing outdoors) don't have problems. In fact, it's healthy for eyes since you're exercising eyes (near/far focussing etc) combined with all the extra fresh air and extra blinking that helps your eyes.

It's the extended exposures (e.g. sailor who's exhibited all-day-long exposure including intense reflections from the water) which will still eventually do a number to your eyes. 12 hours of exposure to that shit, whether the sun or the screen, can still be bad for eyes over the long term. Remember some of us programmers spend 8 hours staring into a screen, plus evenings staring at a giant TV or iPad. That accumulates more than 12 hours of exposure per day -- far more than just simple kids playing out on the street.

Although there are other symptoms such as "Sailor's Eye" from prolonged exposure, and all the cataracts, anything that forces you to stare at bright snow (ski patrols), bright seas (sailors) and bright clouds (pilots) are a well known work hazard, with only lens hardening a minor secondary symptom compared to cataracts or other ailments. Sunglasses is the shoo-in solution for the majority of this. But we don't use sunglasses with displays, and so, we are getting quite a bit of short-wavelength radiation (whether invisible UV or visible deep blue)

But there are hardening research too (Google Scholar prolonged sunlight hardens eye lens). Obviously, this is lost in the noise of cataracts which is a worse effect which cannot be fixed by eyeglasses (unlike lens hardening).

Nontheless, regardless of what I say or claim which can be easily misinterpreted -- or distract from things -- there's truckloads of research out there on the role of sun and screens killing eye health over human history -- whether by cataract, by lens hardening, or by the health ailiment "Sailor's Eye".

Yesterday, lighting was incandescent -- whether by electrical heating (filament in bulb) or by fire (candle, oil lamp). The blackbody emissions emitted a hell lot less blue and UV. So the blue/UV hazard was practically always the sun -- and it mainly afflicted those prolonged stuff like sailors especially when the sky was wide open and you're out there from sunrise to sunset.

I have to caveat that lens hardening (fixable by simply wearing eyeglasses, and call it a day) can vary a lot and it's very diffuse signal in all the noise. But what's true is more people are starting to wear glasses earlier. Whether 1 year earlier or 5 years earlier than the average age or 10 years earlier than the average age, it varies in various different parts of the world. But up here in Canada, the number is a human's first eyeglassese (or corrective measure) is occurring approximately 10 years earlier than historically (give or take af few years). In other countries where most children play in the street (like 1950s America) rather than own smartphones earlier, the data shows eyeglasses are not occuring earlier. This leads to believe correlating to screen use seems to indicate that it's probably a major factor. Understandably, correlation is not causation, but the pile of evidence keeps coming.

Modern human society now we have excellent methods of producing blue light (fluorescent, LED, mercury-arc, whatever) that did not exist widespread 100 years ago. Sure, the first carbon-arc streetlamps were the mid 19th century and was the first time huge amounts of blue light occured during night, but they were very few and far in between only in wealthy places. The boom of non-sunlight blue to humankind only happened in the last 100 years and it's already shown to yellow/harden eye lens sooner. People working in fluorescent-lit offices 100 hours a week, or people staring at very blue LED screens 12 hours a day for a decade (first LED monitors was more than a decade ago now). And because we often stare at bright screens during dim environments, our irises are much more open. And we're not wearing sunglasses, so our eyes are open barn doors to the UV/blues of other light emission sources than the sun nowadays. Research is always continuously ongoing.

Most 50 cent cheap LED bulbs have a sharp blue peak, which contributes to the exposure problem, so it's hard to do a study when you're only eliminating screens but not fixing your household's LED bulbs, so some of those "no-effect" recent studies may be contaminated by other blue exposure. Observe a lot of screen blue-light studies that occured 10 years ago, are somewhat more accurate in some ways.

Image

The cheap 50 cent bargain basement LED bulbs (e.g. Walmart house brand type bulbs) typically look like that spectrum-wise with a sharp blue peak, even for the normal warm-white bulbs.

(Aside -- currently, most eye-safer LED still use blue instead of ultraviolet, but use new phosphors to try to redistribute more of the blue peak elsewhere in the visible-light spectrum. Most of my LED bulbs (~$5-$7 each) are CRI 93 nowadays. Even IKEA has replaced their bottom-barrel LED bulb with CRI 90+ and I consider that the minimum gold standard for LED house lighting. On the other hand, ultraviolet LEDs using blue phosphor has the advantage of completely blocking the original UV via a good UV filter afterwards, so that's another pro if you want to go more overkill)

Common sense also prevails here too.

What it boils down is that there are many hazards of prolonged exposure to large amounts of short-wavelength radiation such as ultraviolet and/or blue light of various forms, some proven and some disproven. And it's fun to corroborate 100-year-old sailor research with newer research about screen exposure, there's some parallels and overlaps.

Anyway, tons of studies, and it's hard to trust any one over the other, but I'm going to go with the aggregate opinion that blue light also affects sleep, since many earlier studies agree with that. I suspect the small count of recent studies that claim blue light doesn't affect sleep, is because the screen-blue is lost in the noise of LED-lightbulb-blue with the prevalance of cheap house LED bulbs and cheap streetlight LED bulbs, with the outlier study being contaminated by less control of non-screen blue as that study didn't vet the other blues elsewhere in the household. But for me, warm screens put me to sleep sooner, if I dim the screen too, because all my LED bulbs are already low-blue, so I'm less contaminated by non-screen blues too. So I'm going to trust the earlier studies rather than the recent "walmart-LED-era" studies.

I look at the big picture, NOT one study.

However, even if the newer study was true too, there ARE other long-term hazards of the short-wavelength section of bright light killing human vision, dating back to the days of sailors. Dig up the microfilche :D
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Markachy
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Re: Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by Markachy » 14 Oct 2021, 04:47

Just for clarity before I respond to some points below: I absolutely agree that overuse of monitors, artificial lights, and blue light particularly can cause real and genuine eye issues, and also mess with our circadian rhythm - there is plentiful research out there to back it up. The part I was questioning was the linking of blue light specifically, in the context of monitors, to needing glasses earlier - there is no research at all to back this up as far as I am aware.

I believe the research suggests that the increasing need for glasses is likely caused by the long periods of time spent focusing on fine text, relatively up close. This is backed up by historical evidence linking people who spent lots of time reading with increased incidence of glasses wearing, and was noticed in times long predating widespread use of screens. Specifically, amongst people who spent a long time reading books and texts (physicians, scholars, scientists, literati etc). My point here was that it does not seem to be the screens (or artificial lights, or blue light) themselves, per se, that are driving the need for earlier glasses, but instead it is the massive increase in time spent with close focus on small text for extended periods by many more people.

But again, that is not to say increased staring at screens isn't damaging eye health in other ways - it almost definitely does, and I anecdotally notice it myself (tired eyes, fatigued eyes, watery eyes etc). It was specifically the linking of blue light to glasses wearing that I wasn't convinced on.
Chief Blur Buster wrote:
13 Oct 2021, 20:37
It's the extended exposures (e.g. sailor who's exhibited all-day-long exposure including intense reflections from the water) which will still eventually do a number to your eyes. 12 hours of exposure to that shit, whether the sun or the screen, can still be bad for eyes over the long term. Remember some of us programmers spend 8 hours staring into a screen, plus evenings staring at a giant TV or iPad. That accumulates more than 12 hours of exposure per day -- far more than just simple kids playing out on the street.

Although there are other symptoms such as "Sailor's Eye" from prolonged exposure, and all the cataracts, anything that forces you to stare at bright snow (ski patrols), bright seas (sailors) and bright clouds (pilots) are a well known work hazard, with only lens hardening a minor secondary symptom compared to cataracts or other ailments. Sunglasses is the shoo-in solution for the majority of this. But we don't use sunglasses with displays, and so, we are getting quite a bit of short-wavelength radiation (whether invisible UV or visible deep blue)
Yep that all makes sense, and agrees with my own knowledge in the area. But a multitude of research demonstrates that it is the UV exposure specifically that drives lens damage, including cataracts. And in terms of snow/sea/cloud blindness, it appears to be the overall huge intensity (i.e. energy density) of the sunlight that drives it, not blue light specifically, and it is damaging mainly to other parts of the eye, not the lens.

However, it is simply not accurate to state that staring at a screen for 12 hours a day gives far more light exposure than being outdoors in sunlight for a few hours - it factually doesn't, as the light intensity emitted by a screen is miniscule in comparison to sunlight intensity on Earth (yes the screen is much closer, but the light emitted is magnitudes less than natural sunlight so the impact of the screen being closer, or spending 12 hours in front of it, is not even close to being enough to make the screen light intensity comparable to being outdoors).

Eye effects of long screen use are more likely down to the whole mix of effects of not blinking, close focusing for extended periods, and absolutely the less well understood impacts of things like screen refresh rates, PWM, and spectra of light emitted by the screens themselves. All areas ripe for research, and I suspect it could be a nicely untapped area of innovation (and consequential marketing) for monitor makers, beyond whacking an "eyesafe" blue light filter on things.
Chief Blur Buster wrote:
13 Oct 2021, 20:37
But there are hardening research too (Google Scholar prolonged sunlight hardens eye lens). Obviously, this is lost in the noise of cataracts which is a worse effect which cannot be fixed by eyeglasses (unlike lens hardening).
I had a look through the first 3 pages of results there, and there was nothing at all linking blue light (or screen use generally) to lens hardening - did I miss one in there? Can you link directly?
Chief Blur Buster wrote:
13 Oct 2021, 20:37
Yesterday, lighting was incandescent -- whether by electrical heating (filament in bulb) or by fire (candle, oil lamp). The blackbody emissions emitted a hell lot less blue and UV. So the blue/UV hazard was practically always the sun -- and it mainly afflicted those prolonged stuff like sailors especially when the sky was wide open and you're out there from sunrise to sunset.

I have to caveat that lens hardening (fixable by simply wearing eyeglasses, and call it a day) can vary a lot and it's very diffuse signal in all the noise. But what's true is more people are starting to wear glasses earlier. Whether 1 year earlier or 5 years earlier than the average age or 10 years earlier than the average age, it varies in various different parts of the world. But up here in Canada, the number is a human's first eyeglassese (or corrective measure) is occurring approximately 10 years earlier than historically (give or take af few years). In other countries where most children play in the street (like 1950s America) rather than own smartphones earlier, the data shows eyeglasses are not occuring earlier. This leads to believe correlating to screen use seems to indicate that it's probably a major factor. Understandably, correlation is not causation, but the pile of evidence keeps coming.

Modern human society now we have excellent methods of producing blue light (fluorescent, LED, mercury-arc, whatever) that did not exist widespread 100 years ago. Sure, the first carbon-arc streetlamps were the mid 19th century and was the first time huge amounts of blue light occured during night, but they were very few and far in between only in wealthy places. The boom of non-sunlight blue to humankind only happened in the last 100 years and it's already shown to yellow/harden eye lens sooner. People working in fluorescent-lit offices 100 hours a week, or people staring at very blue LED screens 12 hours a day for a decade (first LED monitors was more than a decade ago now). And because we often stare at bright screens during dim environments, our irises are much more open. And we're not wearing sunglasses, so our eyes are open barn doors to the UV/blues of other light emission sources than the sun nowadays. Research is always continuously ongoing.

Most 50 cent cheap LED bulbs have a sharp blue peak, which contributes to the exposure problem, so it's hard to do a study when you're only eliminating screens but not fixing your household's LED bulbs, so some of those "no-effect" recent studies may be contaminated by other blue exposure. Observe a lot of screen blue-light studies that occured 10 years ago, are somewhat more accurate in some ways.

Image

The cheap 50 cent bargain basement LED bulbs (e.g. Walmart house brand type bulbs) typically look like that spectrum-wise with a sharp blue peak, even for the normal warm-white bulbs.

(Aside -- currently, most eye-safer LED still use blue instead of ultraviolet, but use new phosphors to try to redistribute more of the blue peak elsewhere in the visible-light spectrum. Most of my LED bulbs (~$5-$7 each) are CRI 93 nowadays. Even IKEA has replaced their bottom-barrel LED bulb with CRI 90+ and I consider that the minimum gold standard for LED house lighting. On the other hand, ultraviolet LEDs using blue phosphor has the advantage of completely blocking the original UV via a good UV filter afterwards, so that's another pro if you want to go more overkill)

Common sense also prevails here too.

What it boils down is that there are many hazards of prolonged exposure to large amounts of short-wavelength radiation such as ultraviolet and/or blue light of various forms, some proven and some disproven. And it's fun to corroborate 100-year-old sailor research with newer research about screen exposure, there's some parallels and overlaps.

Anyway, tons of studies, and it's hard to trust any one over the other, but I'm going to go with the aggregate opinion that blue light also affects sleep, since many earlier studies agree with that. I suspect the small count of recent studies that claim blue light doesn't affect sleep, is because the screen-blue is lost in the noise of LED-lightbulb-blue with the prevalance of cheap house LED bulbs and cheap streetlight LED bulbs, with the outlier study being contaminated by less control of non-screen blue as that study didn't vet the other blues elsewhere in the household. But for me, warm screens put me to sleep sooner, if I dim the screen too, because all my LED bulbs are already low-blue, so I'm less contaminated by non-screen blues too. So I'm going to trust the earlier studies rather than the recent "walmart-LED-era" studies.

I look at the big picture, NOT one study.

However, even if the newer study was true too, there ARE other long-term hazards of the short-wavelength section of bright light killing human vision, dating back to the days of sailors. Dig up the microfilche :D
Again, I absolutely agree with all of this - it was purely the idea that blue light drives glasses wearing that I wasn't sure on. I myself pay undue attention to "comfortable" lighting in my own house, and for me also "comfortable" does mean warmer, redder light rather than harsher, blue light. I always get an involuntary shudder when I see people sitting under those hideous, incandescent, tube lights hanging from a ceiling. Indeed, I would love some more of your tips in this area in terms of house LEDs to get - are there specific brands of LED bulbs that you would recommend that have a wide spectrum of emittance?

My original response was very much focused on the premise of this thread, which was around blue light in monitors specifically - my view, based on research I have studied myself, is that blue light appears to affect sleep, and may possibly contribute to eye fatigue, but does not appear to drive lens damage or accelerate the need for glasses. Screen use itself does seem to, but not because of the blue light they emit. Again, entirely anecdotally, I have found that a "warmer" screen setting does not actually help my own eye strain issues much at all - instead, spending time away from screens entirely (and away from books to a lesser extent) very quickly makes my eyes feel better. As does the use of a larger font on screens, even though my eyes do not require it as I have no issues with focus (yet! I suspect they are approaching as I approach my mid 30s... :geek: )

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Re: Is blue light filter a gimmick?

Post by Chief Blur Buster » Yesterday, 18:57

Another factor is that software-based "low blue light" doesn't fix the original LED backlight spectrum.

LCD blacks are not completely black, and blacks can leak through the original backlight spectrum which may trigger issues for many people. Software that lowers brightness below the native minimum brightness are also hugely imperfect in reducing effectiveness of operating-system-based low blue light filters, monitor firmwares, or utilities such as F.Lux.

This can also contaminate the validity of subpar low blue light research, as an additional erroneously-undisclosed error margin above-and-beyond ambient blue light peaks (e.g. cheap LED lightbulbs throughout a household).

If you measure the color temperature of LCD blacks, using a super-sensitive colorimeter or spectrophotometer, it's often a very high color temperature (very blue) even in the orangest-colored lowest blue light mode. Because the software fix to reduce blue light only works well on well-above-black.

And many people use Dark Mode at the same time -- which increases the color temperature a bit because of the bluer bias in the darker LCD shades. And in the dark, the irises open up and absorbs even more blue light from the dim greys/blacks. Thus enabling Dark Mode can contaminate a study that tests Low Blue Light, since there are counter-reacting factors when it comes to LCDs. Less amount of light (good), but bluer light (bad). Now, if they are OLEDs, bluish LCD blacks is not an issue, since many OLEDs can go completely black regardless of normal or low blue light mode.

I think there is legitimacy in saying OS/menu/software-based low-blue-light filters are sometimes ineffective on some screens with cheap backlights that create extremely bluish-grey LCD blacks. They turn very visible colors very orange but still keeping the blue tinted blacks & dark greys in LCD blacks since they do nothing to the color of LCD black.

Now that being said, there is an external fix-it-all for imperfect LCD blacks that may still be bluish: Orange tinted computer glasses, that act like sunglasses for computer displays. They universally filter all blue light from all colors emitted from a screen. (even so, it's not a perfect replacement for improved LED spectrum -- it's simply superior to the on-screen low blue light setting)

I believe I currently have enough reputation to call out in doubt the veracity of mainstream media claims based on outlier research papers that may be only surgically legitimate. One "avoiding blue light doesn't work" paper out of a storm of papers that do confirm a link. At best, the paper probably is a "enabling low blue light mode on a device is fairly ineffective" when considering the assault of blue light contamination from non-screen causes AND the partial ineffectiveness of software-based/OS-based low blue light filters. Mainstream media then spins it with bait titles.

My Blur Busters / TestUFO is already mentioned/credited/coauthor in more than 20+ peer reviewed research papers.

There, however, are a HUGE number of issues with today's displays, not just blue light, which I will crosspost here:
Chief Blur Buster wrote:
Yesterday, 18:30
I understand that your eyes are very comfortable with Apple displays, but has more issues/migranes with other non-Apple displays. This is an interesting area that needs a bit of self-troubleshooting, but there are also additional ergonomic issues to also check too.

Ergonomic issues with vision can be hard to troubleshoot -- e.g. LED spectrum issues and panel issues (e.g. TN vs IPS, as well as standard LED backlight vs KSF/NanoIPS LED backlight). The best way to try to narrow this down is to analyze:

General pattern of changes to display industry over the last 10-25 years:
  • CRT gave way to CCFL-backlit LCD, then gave way to LED-backlit LCD. (Different people react differently in migraines)
  • Low blue light features have become available (but software/firmware does not fully solve CCFL vs LED differences)
  • Desktop monitors are becoming bigger than they used to be (which can affect migraines due to bigger FOV)
  • Higher Hz has now become available, even for IPS and VA (this can help some, people who get motionsick playing games)
  • VRR technologies recently became available (can help motion sickness caused by stutter; people who get motionsick playing games)
There is no single cause of migraines. However, you can test categories of common causes of display ergonomic issues:
  • Try enable/disable low blue light via menus/OS/app. This helps a lot, but sometimes is only partial as software doesn't fully fix the LED spectrum. LCD blacks are not completely black, and blacks can leak through the original backlight spectrum which may trigger issues for you.
  • Try wear orange-tinted "computer glasses", they're like sunglasses but designed for computer use. Superior to software apps.
  • Change refresh rate between 60Hz and 120Hz/144Hz and 240 Hz, in case your issue is motion blur related (some of us get nausea from motion blur and/or poorly tuned LCD pixel response).
  • Verify the monitor dimming is PWM-free. Most displays made in the last 10 years are PWM-free, fortunately.
  • Verify different LED backlight types. (regular vs KSF/NanoIPS vs Quantum Dot vs Apple Mac/iPad type backlight). Some people solve their problem by changing to a very different (sometimes more expensive) LED backlight type.
  • Verify viewing distance (smaller display closer, bigger display further away). Some prefer to use a TV at the back of a 4-foot-deep desk, to help vision issues.
  • Verify eye aging issues (people becoming 40+), if you're getting issues regardless of display in public, office, home, mobile, etc. See an optometrist for tests.
  • Verify bias lights (e.g. nightnight behind the screen), to make sure your screen is no longer the dimmest/brightest object in your room.
  • Try unexpected alternatives such as LG 42", 48" or 55" 4K 120Hz GSYNC OLED HDTV on the wall at back of a 4 foot deep desk (twice the viewing distance of normal 24" monitor). They are also FreeSync compatible.
Try to focus on categories during your process of elimination, but admittedly this can be very challenging if vision / motionsick / migraine issues only occur over time. There are many causes that sometimes are wild goose chases to red herrings -- many try to fix their headache by low blue light, find that doesn't work, and don't know the cause.

The risk of going cheap budget bottom-barrel uncertified "FreeSync" is you will make something else worse than your MBP display in order to gain FreeSync. Cheap gaming monitors also have a narrower brightness adjustment range than most Mac monitors, which is hugely unfortunate, if you're used to a Macbook backlight at 40% brightness setting (dimmer than the 1% brightness setting of some brands of gaming monitors that are still too bright).

However, my general rule of thumb for a FreeSync display to de-risk people whose eyes prefer the comfort of an Apple screen:
  • Make sure it is both true AMD FreeSync *and* NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible certified. A display simultaneously certified by both AMD and NVIDIA is more likely to be better.
  • Choose an IPS panel, the same LCD technology that Apple uses. That's what all iMac/MacBook/iPad/iPhone LCDs are nowadays whenever they're not using OLED, so avoid the cheap TN monitors to get more of a 1:1 symmetric experience. IPS FreeSync is a bit more expensive than TN FreeSync.
  • Adjust your environment. Don't use a bigger/smaller screen than other existing screens that fully comfort your eyes. Adjust brightness to match your other comfortable screens used from the exact same chair. Adjust DPI/zoom so you're not squinting at tiny text. Adjust viewing distance to be similar to your other favorite eye-comfortable displays.
  • Supplement with filters, preferably external instead of apps. You may have to supplement with orange-tinted non-prescription "computer glasses" from Amazon, or neutral density filters or apps (F.Lux style) to increase adjustment range or overcome an intrisinic limitation of a specific backlight LED's spectrum of a cheap monitor not fully fixable by software utilities. And brightness range limitations that are narrower than the brightness adjustment range of a display made by Apple.
Now replying to other points:
Markachy wrote:
14 Oct 2021, 04:47
I had a look through the first 3 pages of results there, and there was nothing at all linking blue light (or screen use generally) to lens hardening - did I miss one in there? Can you link directly?
Think broader for the whole century's research. Not just screens.

In general, any short-wavelength light can accelerate the yellowing/hardening of the human eye lens, even if only a little bit. Maybe a year, or two, or ten. It's very diffuse. Essentially, any prolonged all-waking-hours exposure excess of short wavelength light is coming from, screen or other sources.

Like the yellowing/embrittlement of acrylic plastic put to strong exposure to shorter wavelength light, the human eye lens is subject to some roughly similar effects.

P.S. The blue peak can be sometimes be closer to violet/near-ultraviolet for some white LED technologies that could be used as backlights. Certain white LEDs use 415 or 430 nanometer blue, in the violet portion of spectrum rather than blue. They use phosphor to spread the blue peak to the longer blue wavelengths, but the peak is still sharp/intense at an even lower wavelength, which may possibly accelerate yellowing/hardening. More study is needed on this. Also if industry ever migrates to ultraviolet LEDs for screen backlight technologies, this could also be an issue if we don't correctly filter ultraviolet after phosphor conversion to blue.
Markachy wrote:
14 Oct 2021, 04:47
Indeed, I would love some more of your tips in this area in terms of house LEDs to get - are there specific brands of LED bulbs that you would recommend that have a wide spectrum of emittance
Slightly offtopic, but:

I generally try to use CRI ratings. I skip all LED bulbs without a labelled CRI rating, or whose CRI rating is below 90. I try to aim for 93 or 95.

For more incandescent-style comfort, look for LED bulbs with:
- Labelled "CRI" with "90" or higher; and
- Labelled with the eye-checkmark logo; and
- Advertised as true flicker free (properly capacitored); and
- Advertised as full spectrum while also simultaneously being warm color temperature; and
- If possible, also dimmable and/or dim-to-warm (new).

Generally, expect to spend ~$5 per bulb on average. Some go up from there, but those nice $50 bulbs are now only $5 to get "full spectrum warm white" vastly superior to anything non-incandescent ever invented. Woohoo!

I also finally found CRI 90+ LED bulbs with an RGB mode too. Sometimes one has to make compromises to save money -- e.g. Sylvania Smart+ WiFi Full Color Dimmable uses CRI 90 (bare minimum ergonomic white) but has RGB cheaper than a Philips Hue. But they're Tuya-based cloud controlled IoT junk, so hook them only to your guest WiFi network for security. And then deciding on other compromises if I want to have smart bulbs, including smartbulbs that can be asked to flash at a certain time of the day (alarm clock - I am deaf).

For other lighting, my kitchen under-cabinet lights are MARSWALL CRI 95 LED ribbon from Amazon (this), installed myself, along with a good ultrahigh-frequency PWM (>10KHz) 12V dimmable power supply. They cost more than twice as much as the cheap LED ribbons, but the CRI 95 spectrum really looks nice. It might be exaggerated though (more CRI 92-93) but it definitely looks very incandescent looking for a LED ribbon. Now, obviously, it's a hell lot harder than installing commodity undercabinet lights, but emits a top-of-the-line halogen-looking spectrum at least during full brightness (doesn't have dim-to-warmer behavior).

Oh, and stick to the good brands of wall dimmers (e.g. even if it's just a Lutron LED-compatible dimmer on sale) if you want full-range LED dimming (rather than 20%-100% brightness junk that never dims fully and causes LED to flicker regularly or erratically).
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