Do you spend a lot of time in front of a screen? Who are we kidding, of course, you do! Today, we’re looking at SportRx’s BLUEdefense blue light filtering computer glasses, as well as a pair of prescription sunglasses, and I’m going to share whether SportRx actually changed the way I work and game. This is our review.
Should you invest in blue light filtering glasses?
Like many of you, I spent far too long in front of a screen every day. For my day job, I’m an elementary school teacher, so I’m responding to emails, doing paperwork, and writing lesson plans any time I’m not working with kids. When the kids leave and my contract hours are done, I spend more hours writing articles before going home, spending time with the family, and catching an hour of a show before bedtime. Throughout it all, I’m checking my phone, chatting on Discord, trying and failing to not send emails all hours of the afternoon. I ingest a lot of blue light and, like a lot of us, I know that’s not a good thing.
There is lots of information about the harmful effects of blue light out there but SportRx has helpfully put it all in one place. Absorbing too much blue light can contribute to macular degeneration, is associated with eye fatigue, and can have harmful effects on your body’s ability to produce melatonin.
Over the last year, my screen time has ramped up significantly and I’ve felt the negative effects first hand. The answer isn’t all in the glasses but they are certainly an important part of taking care of your overall health. For simple eye fatigue, you can simply blink more, take more frequent eye breaks, and perform some basic sight exercises. But if you’re like me and spend so much time on screens that you find it hard to “turn off” at night, you need a better solution.
That’s where glasses like the SportsRx BLUEdefense lenses come in. They’re treated with an anti-reflective coating that filters HEV blue light from both indoor and outdoor sources (don’t forget, the sun is the biggest source of blue light you take in). I’ve tried blue light filtering glasses before. They worked, but I never stuck with them — until now.
Why SportRx when there are so many options out there?
It’s true, there are a lot of options out there. Gunnar, HyperX, Arozzi - each of these companies sell “gaming glasses” that claim to do the same thing. Yet, each has two big achille’s heels: the lenses are tinted and they look like gaming glasses. Yes, you get used to the yellow cast on everything, but do you really want to see the world through a yellow lens? More importantly, by looking like they’re made for gaming, they ensure that most of us will never wear them out of the house, and if you’re only wearing them for a short time every day, you’re not making the most out of your purchase.
At the same time, if you’re a glasses wearer, you’ll need to take off your normal glasses to even use them and deal with worse vision. If you’re willing to spend extra, you can sometimes buy prescription lenses from some of the bigger brands, but that makes it even worse that they’re locked to your gaming rig.
SportRx takes a different approach. Instead of catering just to gamers, they cater to activities. By selecting the activity you’ll be engaging in, everything from Casual Lifestyle and Gaming to Triathlon, you’ll be recommended a curated selection of styles from a wide selection of major brands, complete with prescription lens options. It’s a specialized approach to choosing a pair of glasses that takes the in-store optician experience and takes it to the next level.
The reason they can do this is because SportRx is an optician. Well, a group of opticians, plus a whole host of other folks helping them do what they do best and make sure people get matched to the right set of glasses. Because of that, their approach is very different. They don’t just have one “gaming” or “computer” model they’ll sell you for $40. They offer a broader selection of frames than your local eye doctor’s office that can then be fitted with your unique prescription or treatment. That includes sunglasses, by the way, which I was also able to try. Most importantly, that means you can invest in a pair of computer glasses you can wear all day, every day, without feeling self-conscious about how they look.
It also means they can offer a couple of other unique things. First off, insurance and FSA coverage. Depending on your plan, you may be able to get a discount or apply for reimbursement for your glasses, or use flex spending dollars. Second, they have a unique understanding that you will be using these glasses outside of the house and will want to find a frame that’s a perfect match for you. That alone makes many people scared to buy glasses online; no one wants to be stuck with a pair of frames they thought would look good and don’t.
Thankfully, SportRx offers a Test Ride program where you can try before you buy. If you like them, you can send the frames back where they’ll add your lenses and treatments. If you don’t like them, you’re not charged. I found that to be a very cool feature, especially since name brand frames typically since you’re paying more for a name brand frame and custom lens.
What is the process like and how do they work?
Buying a pair of glasses through SportRx is easy, but you’ll need to know your prescription and pupillary distance, or IPD, to get started (assuming you’re buying a pair of frames with Rx lenses). I had my yearly check-up with my eye doctor and was able to get a copy of my prescription on the spot. I forgot to get my IPD and was surprised to find VisionWorks refused to give it to me. I wound up having to sign a waiver relieving them from liability if I bought glasses out-of-store that had a problem. Come to find out, this is a common tactic major vision chains sometimes use to keep you from buying online. Take it from me, and just ask the optician on the spot.
Once I had that information, it was as simple as choosing the frames and sharing what I would use them for. I chose the Costa Ocean Ridge 220s for my daily glasses and the Nike Pivot Six for my prescription sunglasses.
My goal in selecting two pairs was to see if I could really change the way my eyes felt at the end of the day. The computer glasses were obviously for reducing fatigue and getting my melatonin back on track. The sunglasses were for my daily commutes and time outside with my family. I always avoided sunglasses while driving because I had to take off my normal glasses to wear them and my preferred frame didn’t support clip-ons. Every day, I was squinting from sun glare at some point or straining my eyes to see without my normal glasses. Between the two pairs, my goal was to reduce eye strain to its floor and see if SportRx could genuinely change my daily life.
Let’s start with the computer glasses. Number one, I love my new frames and wear them all day, every day. Number two, they have by far the best blue light treatment I’ve ever experienced. There is no tint whatsoever. None. In fact, the only way you can tell the lenses have been treated at all is when the sun hits them just right, you can see a blue sheen across their surface which is invisible when worn normally. SportRx also nailed the prescription.
The sunglasses were just as perfect. I’ve established a routine where I swap over every time I get in my car on a sunny day. Before now, every commute was a mix of squinting and adjusting the visor until I’d eventually just block the sun with my hand. Being able to consistently wear my prescription and also be more comfortable driving is a blessing. SportRx also added a high-contrast filter on the lenses to help when I take my son out fishing.
Most importantly, I’m able to go my entire day without absorbing mass amounts of blue light. The impact on my eyes has been huge. I do have reduced eye strain but, more importantly, I can more easily fall asleep every night. I’ve had these glasses for about three weeks and on days when I switch back to my old frames, I am always up later and lying awake in bed. Not so here.
SportRx has taken my “wind-down” time and cut it in half — more than half. And when I’m going to sleep earlier, I wake up more rested and ready for the next day. As someone who works with kids every day, that is pivotally important. When I’m short on sleep, I’m less patient, and when I’m less patient, I am not the teacher or parent I want to be. Swapping to full-time blue light glasses and prescription lenses has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in years.
My situation isn’t unique. Lots of us spend more time than is healthy on screens. Until recently, I had no idea just how much it was affecting me. Now, I can’t see buying a pair of glasses that don’t have BLUElight defense or going without a pair of prescription sunglasses for all of my time outside and in the car. SportRx directly addresses my major hangups about buying online with their Test Drive system and they even offer lower prices than my local VisionWorks. If any of this sounds like it applies to your own life, you owe it to yourself to choose an activity and find a style that’s right for you.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.