Video games, surfing the web, watching cartoons on a tablet, and playing with an app on your phone: All of these everyday activities expose kids' eyes to potentially harmful blue light. But you don't have to ditch screens altogether to protect your child, thanks to the latest innovations in eyewear. There are plenty of cheap blue light glasses for kids available, and by "cheap" we mean nowhere near as expensive as regular glasses. This is particularly nice if your child isn't great at taking care or keeping track of basically anything other than their beloved tablet.
Even if you're strict about screen time and really work hard to limit the exposure, the fact is that your kids are exposed to the blue light when you may not even realize it. All of those video chats with long distance relatives, doing research for school projects, and watching an hour of TV at night add up. The organization Prevent Blindness says that one of the primary concerns for the direct exposure to blue light is digital fatigue, which manifests as "sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing." While adults are also at risk of overexposure to blue light, a paper from the American Optometric Association indicated that children's eyes are (unsurprisingly) more susceptible, so parents should practice caution because "the long term consequences of blue light exposure in children are not well understood."
While there is still research that needs to be done on the effects of blue light exposure to the retina, the American Optometric Association warned that "cellular telephone, tablet and personal computer use before bedtime can delay sleep onset, degrade sleep quality and impair alertness the following day." Ideally, kids should limit use of these devices right before bed, but this isn't an ideal world. Since screen time before bedtime can be unavoidable, investing in some blue-light glasses for your kids isn't a bad idea. But, because there aren't any clear-cut answers to the long-term effects of exposure (and because kids tend to demolish everything), this isn't a purchase that needs to be high-end.
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1. Funky Neon & Black
Available in black, pink, red, and blue
You can pick up these glasses that effectively filter blue light from tablets and other screens at Walmart for under $30. While they are marketed as for kids between five and eight years old, the manufacturer says they often fit kids as young as three depending on their size.
2. Lightweight Protection
These cute glasses from Target are made for bigger kids seven-years-old and up. Not only do they help filter the blue light, but also have 100% UVA and UVB protection, so they will work outside in a pinch, too.
3. Perfect For Teens
Teens probably get the most exposure to blue light because they have more school responsibilities (and they're harder to control than little kids), so these glasses that are made for teens 13 and up are a great option. They help reduce eyestrain, and all of the effects that come with it, and have anti-glare lenses.
4. Practically Indestructible
Your kids can bend and twist these around and they won't break because of the "Ultralight TR90 frame design." These blue light glasses come in pink or blue and are made with adjustable ear pieces so they can fit kids between 3 and 15 years old.
5. Classic Style
Kids between 2 and 10 years old can wear these silicone frame blue light glasses. According to the manufacturer, they cut out 99% of blue light and reduce screen glare to help avoid eye strain.
6. The Total Package
For under $30, you get these glasses, a carrying case, a lens cloth, repair screwdriver, and a lanyard. These blue light glasses are made for kids between 3 and 12 years old and have a "worry-free" warranty in case anything gets damaged or breaks.
7. Anti-Scratch Lenses
Available in blue, pink, and orange
The manufacturer of these blue light glasses kept kids' knack for destruction in mind when they designed them with anti-scratch lenses and paired them with a zipper carrying case. They're made with spring arms so they can fit kids between 5 and 12 years old.
8. Fashionable & Affordable
$22+ depending on style; available in black, blue, demi, green, orange, and pink
These glasses are made to fit kids between 2 and 14 years old (depending on size), come with a hard case and lens cleaning cloth, and have a lifetime warranty. They block out 60% of blue light and the lenses are anti-glare and anti-reflective.