Find answers to frequently asked questions:
No, our DRiVE filters are not polarized, they improve vision through their special tint.
The explanation why we didn´t add polarization to these filters takes us some way into physics and optics.
Polarized light can be thought of light that has been aligned in a certain direction. Natural light isn´t polarized by itself, but becomes partly polarized through treflection. This is why a polarized filter can reduce the reflected light on a wet street, which is a good thing in itself. Nevertheless, especially bikers are advised not to use these glasses, as it can be dangerous not to see that the street is wet.
Apart from reflected light, polarized light is mainly found coming from displays and flatscreens (such as your GPS or sat nav). This hadn´t been a concern in the time when polarization became standard for driving glasses, but today it can be quite inconvenient when you can´t really see anything on your displays, because part of the light is filtered out.
Our DRiVE filter improve vision by filtering out the blue part of the lights, which is responsible for most of glare and dazzeling, and moreover impairs acuity of vision. (Blue light with its shorter wavelengths has a different refractive angle, and therefore leads to blurry edges)
The additional effect of yellow glasses, which improve concentration and therefore your safety on the road, is well-known in color therapy, but unfortunately it´s not yet scientifically proven, so we will refrain from claiming that your glasses will actually do this.
These three filters have been designed for different purposes. While our bluelightprotect filters AMBER PRO and AMBER LiTE mainly focus on blue light protection, the driving filter DRiVE Day&Night found a compromise between global transmittance (in order to fulfil the requirements for traffic suitablility) and a good protection from blue light.
This chart shows the filters and their properties:
Yes, there are a great many scientific studies showing the potential danger of blue light. The suppression of melatonin and the resulting risk for a number of diseases has been particularly well researched.
It is quite hard to scientifically prove the connection between blue light exposure and retina damage in humans, as it is a chronic process, and the first signs of retina damage might show up decades after the exposure. The basic principle however, the photo-toxicity of blue light, and the production of oxygen free radicals is very well researched and has been demonstrated in numerous cell studies. A number of studies used animal testing and were able to show blue-light induced retina damage.
We have put together some links to scientific studies on our Links page.
Hormonal impact of blue light
Our circadian rhythm is regulated by light. Because the proportion of blue light follows a distinct distribution during the day, is has made sense for millions of years to use it for adjusting the “inner clock”. The cells in the ganglion layer, which maintain a direct connection to the inter brain and help control the circadian rhythm, are most sensitive to light with wavelengths around 460nm (=blue light).
Blue light sets the body to “daytime mode”, suppressing the production of melatonin, the so-called sleeping hormone, and increasing the production off different stress hormones such as cortisol.
While this clearly makes sense as an adaption to the actual time of day, excess exposure to blue light, especially in the evening and night, can cause serious health problems.
A lack of melatonin not only leads to poor sleep, but also plays a role in the development of hormone-related cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer, and is a risk factor for so-called “lifestyle diseases” (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure,…).
What you can do:
The hormonal impact of blue light is especially disruptive to the circadian rhythm in the afternoon and evening. If you are working on a flat screen (or watching TV) in the evening, the ideal protection for your eyes and your hormone system is the bluelightprotect filter AMBER PRO.
Eliminate all LED and energy saving lights from your sleeoing area, and sleep in as dark an environment as possible. Street lights increasingly add to the blue light burden in our light environment, as LED becomes more popular. Use heavy curtains or window shutters whenever possible.
Natural daylight is the best we can give to our bodies for optimum health, especially in regard to our hormonal balance. Make sure spend time outdoors every day. You might take the bike to go to work or spend your lunch break in the fresh air to make sure you get a good dose of natural daylight.
Oxidative properties of short-wave light (blue light)
Short-wave light has a high energy potential and can produce oxygen free radicals when it hits the tissue. This leads to oxidative stress which can damage and even destroy cells.
The spot of most acute vision, the yellow spot or macula lutea, has its own natural protection, made from the body´s own pigments (mainly lutein and zeaxanthin), which filters out the short-wave light.
The density of this pigments decreases with age, and allows the blue light to fully express its oxidative potential. It can then lead to age-related macular degeneration; the vision at the spot of most acute vision deteriorates more and more and eventually disappears.
With over 50%, macular degeneration is the leading cause of acquired blindness. People with first signs of macular degeneration are often prescribed yellow tinted lenses, in order to protect themselves from blue light, and to slow down the progression of the disease.
What you can do:
Avoid LED light and energy saving bulbs wherever possible. Where they can´t be avoided, it can be helpful to swich on an additional incandescent light, because its red and near infrared spectrum can protect from cell damage and even help repair cells.
Protect your eyes with bluelightprotect glasses when working on flat screens, or watching TV, and remember to make your environmental light more healthful with additional incandescent lights.
A healthy diet, rich in anti-oxidants (lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, especially berries) supports the body in dealing with oxidative stress.
The effect of colors on the organism are always in relation to saturation and intensity. Blue light, which is emitted by LED light, fluorescent lamps and flat screens, creates stress by altering the hormonal balance, and setting the body on “daytime mode”, which leads to the production of stress hormones.
This is a natural reaction when the body experiences natural daylight, or a simulation of natural daylight; so it can only happen with relatively bright light.
When using the blue color therapy glasses, we recommend the use indoors, with daylight through the window, or with an incandescent bulb as a light source. Only then, the blue light can have its relaxing and calming effects. Please do not use the blue glasses outside in bright sunshine, otherwise you might experience unwanted hormonal reactions, such as the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
It is true that the efficacy or danger of blue light is partly dependent on the brightness of the light. A fact that is often ignored, when this is put forward in defense of blue light emitting monitors, is the adaption of the eye to the light intensity. Not only do the pupils open wider in the dark, the body also produces more of the photopigment rhodopsin, thus activating the activity of photoreceptor cells. This is why even relatively low intensity light can have a high biological efficacy.
This means that a strong blue light emitter, such as a white light LED lamp can be less dangerous when used in addition to bright daylight, than a low intensity blue light as only light source. (Such as you would have if you work on a computer screen in a dark room)
Especially when working on a computer screen, you should e aware that, even if the intensity of the backlight LED is low, you are looking into it continuously from a short distance, for hours at a time! And lowering the light intensity of the monitor doesn´t help either, on the contrary: Most flat screen regulate the brightness by pulse width modulation, which is to say, the light impulses always have the same strengths, but the pauses between the signals make the image appear less bright. This leads to an invisible flickering, which is another stress factor for the eyes.
More detailed information: >>Retina damage through use of flat screens
Since the dangers of blue light become increasingly known, a lot of companies have followed our example and developed their own “protective” eyewear. Under names such as “Computer Glasses” or “Gamer-Eyewear”, they largely offer glasses with a slight yellow or brown tint, promising good color recognition.
An extensive protection through elimination of all blue light components logically changes the color perception.
We at Innovative Eyewear feel that we should not hazard our customers safety and health by offering a weak compromise, but put blue light protection in the focus of our developments.
Our filters AMBER PRO and AMBER LiTE both offer optimal protection in the short-wave spectral range below 500nm, the frequencies that are responsible for severe photo-damage to the retina.
In the blue-green range up to 550nm, that mainly concerns the hormonal activity of light, our AMBER PRO filter offers excellent protection, the AMBER LiTE filter offers a higher transmission rate, and therefore better color recognition.
This is why we recommend to use the AMBER LiTE filter during the day, when the body is well set up for dealing with the hormonal impact of blue light, and use the AMBER PRO filter in the evening and nighttime, when full protection is essential.
Another interesting fact, often forgotten by our competitors, is the astonishing ability of the eye (actually, of the brain), to balance out a color shift. We are capable of an “automatic white balance” as it were, a phenomenon called chromatic adaption.
Fortunately the knowledge about blue light hazard becomes increasingly wide spread, and since the problem is known, different solutions are put on the market.
There are in fact a few programs that change the monitor settings in order to lower the blue light burden.
Unfortunately it is hardly possible to reach a satisfactory filter effect by means of monitor settings, and often the clarity of the monitor image suffers.
We have tested one of the leading products in this field, and would like to share the results with you here:
Here you see the spectral distribution of a monitor, using the strongest setting of this software.
Please compare with the spectral distribution of same monitor, without the software, but filtered through our bluelightprotect filters AMBER PRO and AMBER LiTE.
The energy peak in the blue wavelengths is reduced by the program, but still clearly visible, while there is no peak in the bluelightprotect-filtered spectrum.
Programs such as the one we tested can be useful in special circumstances, such as when you are in a video conference, and don´t want to obstruct your eyes with tinted glasses, or when you use the monitor just occasionally, while needing perfect color recognition for your main task.
When you are working on a screen continuously however, it does not offer adequate protection from blue light damage.
Due to their high amount of blue wavelengths, LED lights and energy saving lamps emit a “cold” light, that most people find uncomfortable. The lighting industry reacted by developing “warm-white” LED and compact fluorescent bulbs that are supposed to emit a warmer, nicer light.
In fact, the proportion of short wave blue light is lower, but still unnaturally high.
This comparison between „cold-white“, „warm-white“ and incandescent light shows this pretty clearly:
So warm-white lights carry a lower blue light burden, but they cannot be thought harmless, or even good for the eyes.
The fact that these light sources have the same color temperature as halogen bulbs stems from the use of the correlated color temperature, which does not look at the whole spectrum, but only at three specific points.
This results in a color temperature that does not have any significance in predicting the biological and medical properties of light.