How to test blue blocking glasses

Not all blue-blocking glasses are created equal!

Whether you have clear or amber blue blockers, they might not be blocking the light you’ve been sold on…

The Best Way to Test Blue Blocking Glasses

Technically speaking, the only surefire way to test how well a pair of blue-blocking glasses work, is with a lab-grade spectrometer.

A spectrometer is a device that’s able to measure the entire visible light spectrum all the way from 380nm violet light to 780 nm deep red light, and everything in between.

shanpu z0850pro 5000k a19 spectrum graph
A full-spectrum light source captured through a spectrometer.

Some companies provide a spectral graph of their lenses, but many don’t, leaving you to simply have to trust that their claims are true!

Here at Optimize Your Biology, we own a lab-grade spectrometer, so we sought to solve this problem by third-party testing every pair of blue blockers we could get our hands on!

Below are three pairs of amber blue blockers we tested, and as you can see they let through various amounts of blue and green light.

horus x amber blue blockers spectrum before and after with glasses
pyramex ztek blue blocking glasses spectrum before and after with glasses
spectra 479 blue blocking glasses spectrum before and after with glasses

So don’t take anyone’s word for it!

Check to see if your blue blockers have been tested below:

blue blocker database button

If we haven’t tested yours yet and you’d like us to, send us a message!

Testing Blue Light Computer Glasses

Since computer lens glasses block very little blue light they often don’t have much if any pigment in the lenses themselves, so how can you tell how well they work?

1. Reflection Test

The quickest way to check a pair of computer glasses is to just make sure they have the blue reflective coating on them.

Some reflective coatings have a green or violet hue, this means they aren’t blocking blue light very well!

Now this isn’t a very scientific test, nor are all of these coatings created equal, but it’s something easy you can do at home.

2. Pigment Test

Some “clear” blue-blocking glasses will have a very slight pigment in the lens in addition to the reflective coating.

It can be hard to see initially, but if you hold it up you should be able to make out a slight amber hue to the lenses.

felix gray clear lenses vs slightly amber
The difference between the slight amber and clear Felix Gray blue blockers.

This added pigment means the lenses are capable of blocking more blue light!

felix gray light yellow blue blockers spectrum before and after
Light amber lenses
felix gray clear blue blockers spectrum before and after
Clear lenses

As you can see, a little bit of pigment in the lenses can go a long way!

In fact, without it, the blue light coming from your screen won’t be blocked much at all.

3. Spectrum Report

At the end of the day, we recommend asking to see a spectrum report of the lenses you plan to buy, only then can you really know how well they work and what they block!

Be sure to check our blue light blocking database to see how well clear computer blue blockers work, and if yours have been tested.

4. LED Laser Test

Blue-blocking computer lenses will often come with a small blue LED light and a photosensitive card so that you can check your glasses do in fact block “blue light”.

blue light shining on test card
Here’s the small LED light and test card that came with the glasses I tested for this article.

However, this is a misleading test.

As you saw above, the clear lenses don’t seem to block much blue light, they do however block plenty of violet light.

And that’s just what this LED is, a short wavelength violet LED, which does not mimic the blue light coming from a typical RGB computer screen.

blue light pen spectral power distribution graph
Here’s the spectral graph for the penlight above.

The penlight peaks at around 400nm. This type of light is blocked by the glasses.

However, blue light coming from computer screens is not violet, but blue, so the fact that this light doesn’t shine through the glasses doesn’t really indicate it’s ability to block blue light.

Testing Amber and Red Lens Blue Blocking Glasses at Home

Blue-blocking glasses designed for evening use are much easier to test at home!

1. Squares Test

An interesting way to test amber and red blue-blocking glasses is with the blue square test.

This uses a fully saturated blue square using the hex color code #0000FF.

This code tells the computer to use zero red and green from the RGB diode and all of the blue.

a black square next to a pure blue square

The blue square should look black or dark grey.

2. Difference Test

Another test you can perform is the difference test, using the same theory as before, however, this time it’s a bit more obvious if a change has occurred.

the word "blue" within a black square

In this case, the word “BLUE” should just about completely disappear…

However, again, neither of these tests is completely reliable because even though we’ve instructed the computer not to use anything other than pure blue, you can’t shut off the backlight, which uses multiple colors to light up the RGB panel in a computer.

If you’re using an OLED device this should work better than your average laptop or PC.

Ultimately, the best way to be sure is to get a spectrum report…

3. Spectrum Report

Finally, once more I urge you to make sure your nighttime blue blockers actually block the light they’re advertised to by checking the third-party spectrum report for the lenses.

We have a database with over 30 different blue blockers you can check if you’d like!

blue blocker database button

Or if you want to see our favorite recommendations instead, you can check those out here.

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