I may be the creator of Iris, which is blue light filter software but I will be honest with you.
Which is better depends on what you need and what you want to achieve?
Depending on why you want to block blue light and what do you want to achieve your best solution will probably be different than mine.
In this article, I will present to you all cases and what to choose in every case.
I will tell you when to choose glasses and when to choose software solutions.
I will also tell when screen protector may be a good choice.
But first, let’s give a fast overview for people who heard about the dangers of blue light for the first time.
You probably feel how when you spend a lot of time in front of the PC or your phone at night you can’t fall asleep really fast.
The reason for this is really simple.
In our eyes, we have a photoreceptor called Melanopsin.
When melanopsin detects blue light entering our eyes in blocks the secretion of our sleep hormone called Melatonin.
And when you don’t produce enough Melatonin you can’t fall asleep.
There are 2 hormones actually which control when we should be awake and when we should fall asleep.
Cortisol tells our body to be awake and Melatonin tells our body to fall asleep.
Cortisol levels are biggest when you wake up and Melatonin levels are biggest when you sleep.
They shift during the day and this is actually our Circadian clock.
Without boring you to death with science we evolved around the Sun and at night there was no light before.
Right now, however, we have all types light sources.
Some of them like LED emit a lot of blue light and cause a drop in our secretion of Melatonin.
Fluorescent light bulbs may flicker and this to cause eye strain and headaches.
Because it’s cheap, manufacturers use PWM to control the brightness which again is some sort of flicker that causes eye strain and headaches, etc.
So the one aspect of blue light is that it’s bad for our sleep if we get too much light in the night and the other is that too much exposure causes Macular degeneration and all other kinds of eye problems in the long run.
You know that UV light and X-rays are bad, but blue light is also really close to them on the light spectrum.
So because it’s so high energy it makes sense that it enters deep into our eye and may cause damage.
I hope you now have some general understanding of the science behind the blue light filters so without further due let’s start to talk about which blue light filter is best and when.
Blue light filter glasses come in all forms and shades and some of them are pretty effective and inexpensive.
The first bad thing about blue light filter glasses is that they can’t be customized.
You can’t control the amount of blue light which is blocked and some of them are actually really ineffective.
For example, I don’t think the yellow tint or without a tint will do a good job in helping you to sleep better.
They may help with eye-strain if they have an antireflective coating and they may be made to block only small part of the blue light to not change the world colors much.
But there is a lot of evidence that you need to block all blue light and even part of the green to stimulate proper melatonin secretion.
One recommendation from me for blue light filter glasses if you are concerned about your sleep is to use orange and red ones.
Orange ones will block all blue light and part of the green which will be awesome for your sleep.
If you want to really biohack your sleep the red ones will probably be one idea better.
They will block all UV, blue and green light and leave you only with a red world.
This will cause the biggest melatonin peak and will stimulate conditions close to complete darkness.
Aside from the things above blue light filter glasses are great for several things.
It’s almost impossible to block the blue light from the TV with software.
For example, you can install Iris on your computer and then duplicate your screen on the TV and reduce the blue light from the TV.
But if you just watch some TV channel you will probably need some hardware device to connect to your cable.
The nice thing about this is that you can have automation from the hardware device but glasses are way simpler to put on your head.
Even there you can also place some blue light filter sheet on your TV so glasses are not the only solution for TV.
Their real power comes from.
If you have LED light bulbs which I don’t recommend they emit a lot of blue light.
The only real way to block the blue light from light bulbs is to use glasses or to change them.
The reason I don’t recommend LED light bulbs is that they emit a lot of blue light.
They also most of the time use PWM to be more energy-saving.
You can see this in the graphics that I also included before.
I recommend the standard Edison light bulb (Incandescent) because it doesn’t flicker and the spectrum is will really low amounts of blue light.
You see that here there are other solutions again for blocking blue light.
I left the one thing which glasses are the best solution for the end.
If you are concerned about blue light from the Sun the only good solution for you are blue light filter glasses.
You can of course just don’t go outside but you miss the other part of the health benefits for your skin and general health that comes from full-spectrum Sunlight.
If you want to block blue light from the Sun, get blue light filter glasses.
Really great for automation and customization there are lots of them.
Starting from Iris which is the most advanced eye protection and sleep improvement tool
Going to f.lux which is the grandfather of the blue light industry
And mentioning Redshift which is not only free but open-source
There are a lot of blue light filtering software which you can choose.
Because software are based on computer code they may not work on every operating system.
Blue light filtering software will also not work for blocking blue light from the TV.
They will not work for blocking blue light from light bulbs and the Sun.
There are certain minuses for software solutions but there are also a lot of pluses which a will talk about later.
On Android, for example, the only way to block blue light is to use Overlay approach which decreases contrast and it’s not really great.
This is what Twilight app does.
The other method for Android is to jailbreak your phone but this is hard for a lot of people.
Putting glasses or screen filter, in this case, is much easier.
Same goes for iOS.
On iOS, you can make great blue light filter but Apple doesn’t allow the developers to publish their solution to the Appstore so you can’t get the most high-quality software.
Here again, it’s much easier to put glasses or screen filter.
Last year both Android and iOS presented integrated solutions called Night Light and Night Shift, but they are really bad copies of high-quality software like Iris or f.lux.
They do block the blue light but they are just not specialized in this.
It’s like comparing Photoshop and Paint.
You can go much deeper and make awesome solution if you really focus on the blue light sleep and eye issues.
However, for most people, the integrated solutions will also work well.
There are also solutions for Windows, macOS and Linux called again with some names like Night Light, Night Shift and Night mode.
There are some downsides like that you can’t block the Sunlight but blue light filter software are actually the best solution.
This is why I work on this kind of software obviously.
If I thought that something else is better I would probably do it instead.
I told you some of the pain points with software solutions but let’s not talk about the benefits now.
I’m sure that the biggest benefit for you will be that some of them are
I will not talk about the economic realities of this but most of the blue light filter software are free and they are super effective.
They can block all blue light, you can customize the amount of blue light being blocked.
Or you can block all blue and green light for best sleep.
You can customize them, schedule some things and some companies integrated filters into their OS.
You can find a free blue light filter in Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android.
You may know that Iris is paid and you may think that I’m super stupid and Iris don’t have even 1 user but the truth is that it’s not only the blue light.
Iris removes PWM pulsations, optimizes subpixel flicker, improves font rendering, adapts to the light around you and all kinds of stuff which are not the point of this article so it’s not like it’s not a successful project.
With over 2 million users, hundreds of positive reviews and a lot of people who pay for the software I’m really happy to do something which improves the people health.
Let’s go over the other benefits of blue light filters aside from that most of them are free.
Blue light filter softwares can adapt to all kinds of things.
They can adapt to the time of the day based on your clock or your position.
They can use sensors like the camera or adapt to the contents of the screen.
They can be paused when you need to and resumed when you want.
Some of them can pause automatically when certain programs are running.
Iris, for example, can adapt to the program that is currently running, stop itself when you need perfect colors or improve the image quality when you watch a movie.
With blue light filter software, you can also set how much blue light you want during the day and how much you want during the night.
In order to be really easy to use Iris, for example, has several types with preset values: Health, Sleep, Reading, Programming, Biohacker, Sunglasses, Dark, Movie, Overlay.
You probably understand why blue light filter softwares are the most popular solutions to block blue light.
It’s not only the Blue light.
There is also PWM flicker, Font rendering, Subpixel flicker, Temporal dithering, Rests, and ease of use.
Iris, for example, takes care of all things related to eye health and sleep.
For flickering, no glasses or screen filter will help you and your only solution may be software or to buy some really expensive monitor which is optimized for eye health.
Now let’s talk about the last category of blue light filters
I will not enter into much more details here because I talked a lot about what blue light filter glasses are bad and good for.
With screen protectors the thing is similar but instead, you placing a glasses on yourself you place the glasses on your phone or screen or TV.
Blue light screen protectors again are bad for automation and customization.
They are also bad for blocking blue light from the Sun and from light bulbs.
With the new integrated solutions for every OS, they are also not the only solutions for smartphones.
One thing which screen filters are particularly good for is actually to make your glossy screen matte but most blue light filter screen protectors don’t do this.
I strongly recommend screen protectors which make glossy screens matte because this reduces reflections and will help a lot which eye pain and eye strain.
The other thing which blue light filter screen protectors are great is that like glasses they can block only some part of the blue light spectrum.
This is something which blue light filter softwares can’t do. Blue light filter softwares block the whole color spectrum at once.
Be careful however that there are a lot of scam into the blue light filter screen protector space.
While you can measure and see for yourself the orange or red tint made by glasses and software a lot of blue light filter screen protectors are a scam.
The reason for this is because regular screen protectors are really hard to sale.
They are all the same and super cheap.
This is why some people decide to change the name of their screen protector and make it blue blocking.
Sellers may tell you that it doesn’t change the image quality but the reason for this may be because it’s just a regular screen protector.
Sometimes the screen protector just protects your phone from scratches and don’t block any blue light.
I’m not saying that all blue light screen protectors are like this but be careful.
Look for measurements and what their tint is. If the tint is orange, yellow or red they probably work.
However, if the tint is transparent, there is a high chance that they don’t do anything.
Thank you very much for reading and staying with me to the end of this long post 🙂
If you liked this article and you learned some new things about the blue light and how it affects our body
If this article helped you to choose the best blue light filter for you
If you think this may be helpful for somebody else