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Do Blue-blocking Lenses Reduce Eye Strain From Extended Screen Time? A Double-Masked Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Sumeer Singh
    Affiliations
    From the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
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  • Author Footnotes
    ⁎ Drs Anderson and Downie contributed equally to this work as joint senior authors.
    Laura E. Downie
    Footnotes
    ⁎ Drs Anderson and Downie contributed equally to this work as joint senior authors.
    Affiliations
    From the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    ⁎ Drs Anderson and Downie contributed equally to this work as joint senior authors.
    Andrew J. Anderson
    Correspondence
    Inquiries to Andrew J. Anderson, Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC Australia 3010
    Footnotes
    ⁎ Drs Anderson and Downie contributed equally to this work as joint senior authors.
    Affiliations
    From the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    ⁎ Drs Anderson and Downie contributed equally to this work as joint senior authors.
Published:February 11, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2021.02.010

      Purpose

      To investigate if blue-blocking lenses are effective in reducing the ocular signs and symptoms of eye strain associated with computer use.

      Design

      Double-masked, randomized controlled trial.

      Methods

      A total of 120 symptomatic computer users were randomly assigned (1:1) into a “positive” or “negative” advocacy arm (ie, a clinician either advocating or not advocating for the intervention via a prerecorded video). Participants were further sub-randomized (1:1) to receive either clear (placebo) or blue-blocking spectacles. All participants were led to believe they had received an active intervention. Participants performed a 2-hour computer task while wearing their assigned spectacle intervention. The prespecified primary outcome measures were the mean change (post- minus pre-computer task) in eye strain symptom score and critical flicker-fusion frequency (CFF, an objective measure of eye strain). The study also investigated whether clinician advocacy of the intervention (in a positive or negative light) modulated clinical outcomes.

      Results

      All participants completed the study. In the primary analysis, for CFF, no significant effect was found for advocacy type (positive or negative, p = .164) and spectacle intervention type (blue-blocking or clear lens, p = .304). Likewise, for eye strain symptom score, no differences were found for advocacy (p = .410) or spectacle lens types (p = .394). No adverse events were documented.

      Conclusions

      Blue-blocking lenses did not alter signs or symptoms of eye strain with computer use relative to standard clear lenses. Clinician advocacy type had no bearing on clinical outcomes.
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