Arthur Christory / Gavel Media

Protective Glasses Step into the (Blue)light

The increase in screen time resulting from online classes has led BC students to seek a solution for this extra eye strain. Rather than heading to O'Neill to print out readings, students have looked for a resolution through a different lens…well, two lenses. Introducing, blue light glasses: an accessory that claims to block the dangerous blue light emitting from our screens and harming our eyes. 

How could anyone resist the $15 Amazon Prime item which claims to resolve all headaches? The class of 2024 and their parents can't. Freshmen across campus claim their parents have sent them glasses in an effort to combat the stress that comes with having a child away from home, especially in a new world of online learning that parents are not accustomed to. 

Sofia Lind, LSOE '24, claimed her mother sent her glasses because she was worried about her daughter's well-being, stating, "My mom told me if I did not wear the pair she sent me I was going to destroy my eyesight from so many Zoom classes." 

But freshmen aren't the only ones who wear them. Whether they work or not, these inexpensive, chic lenses appear on the faces of students of all classes across campus. The Gavel's very own Liam Dietrich, MCAS '23, was ahead of the game in his glasses purchase. Liam bought lenses in March, intending to protect his eyes, knowing he would be looking at more screens during quarantine. These lenses have also helped him at BC.

Liam stated, "When I was put into isolation a few weeks ago, the glasses were almost necessary since nearly all my time at Hotel Boston revolved around looking at a screen of some sort." Regardless of whether the scientific backing is true or if the effects of these glasses are merely a placebo effect, the consensus across campus for blue light glasses is nearly universal: they aid in wellness. 

Students may be unaware of a secondary motive for wearing blue light glasses––to trick proctoring services. Proctorio is a website that uses facial-detection technology to track students' eye movements as they take an exam. In other words, the website monitors students for cheating, flagging those who stare at a certain spot for too long. The complex technology has a loophole: if glasses reflect a glare, the cheating technology system can fail, unable to detect users' eye movements. 

Proctorio addresses this shortcoming on its Terms and Services page, yet this particular outlet for cheating remains largely unknown. Is the lack of knowledge due to the academic integrity of BC students, or is it because online school is too new for students to learn ways to cheat the system? As time goes on and they become more adjusted to online school, maybe more students will realize this failure in Proctorio’s system. Whether the "men and women for others" motto—which Eagles pledged to follow upon admission—stays true in these times and students maintain their integrity is a question we will have to wait to find out.

Despite blue light glasses potentially being abused for cheating purposes, the ways they help BC students cannot be ignored. The glasses have been found to both enhance focus and reduce eye strain; this increase in productivity is beneficial for retaining focus for multiple Zoom classes a day. Next time you're walking around campus, see if you notice the influx of students sporting these glasses, and consider buying yourself a pair to find out if there really is a difference in your eyesight and productivity.

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