How computer glasses can ease digital eye strain
When you work at a computer for any length of time, it’s common to experience eye strain, blurred vision, red eyes, and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS). This is because the visual demands of computer work are related to other activities.
If you are under 40, eye pressure or blurred vision during computer work may be due to your eyes not focusing properly on your screen or because your eyes are focused on your keyboard. It hurts again to change the focus on your screen for long periods. These focusing (accommodation) problems often are associated with CVS.
If you are over age 40, the problem may be due to the beginning of presbyopia the normal age-related loss of near focusing ability. This, too, can cause CVS symptoms.
For starters, do a comprehensive eye examination to eliminate vision problems and update your glasses prescription. Studies show that even small mistakes in your prescription lens can help with computer vision problems.
If your glasses are up-to-date and you experience eye strain while working on your computer, consider buying customized computer glasses. These special-purpose glasses are specifically designed to reduce eye strain and give you a comfortable vision as possible at a computer.
Why computer glasses?
Computer glasses differ from regular eyeglasses or reading glasses in several ways to optimize your eyesight when viewing your computer screen.
Computer screens are usually positioned 20 to 26 inches from the user’s eyes. It is considered an intermediate zone of vision. closer than driving (“distance”) vision, but farther away than reading (“near”) vision.
Children and young adults who need prescription eyeglasses usually are prescribed single vision lenses. These lenses correct the wearer’s nearsightedness, farsightedness, and or astigmatism and the shape of the lens inside the eye automatically adjusts to provide the extra magnifying power required for computer vision and near vision.
When a person’s close vision becomes less clear after the age of 40 due to presbyopia, the loss of the natural focusing power related to that age affects the reading and vision of a smartphone or computer vision clearer and more comfortable. Bifocals can provide clear distance and near vision, but intermediate vision often remains a problem. And progressive lenses or trifocals though they offer some help for intermediate vision, often don’t have a large enough intermediate zone for comfortable computer work.
Without computer eyeglasses, many computer users often end up with a blurred vision, eye strain, and headaches. Significant symptoms of computer vision syndrome. What’s worse is that many people try to compensate for their blurred vision by leaning forward or by tipping their head to look through the bottom portion of their glasses. Both of these actions can result in a sore neck, sore shoulders, and a sore back.
Generally, computer glasses have about 60 percent of the magnifying power of reading glasses. But the optimal magnification depends on how far you prefer to sit from your computer screen and how close you like to hold your digital devices.
Computer glasses also should accurately correct any astigmatism you might have, and precise measurements should be taken to ensure the optical center of each lens is directly in front of your pupils when you are using your preferred working distance.
For these reasons, computer glasses should be customized to your individual needs. Using weaker, non-prescription reading glasses for computer work and seeing your digital devices typically won’t provide the accurate vision correction you need for sustained clarity and comfort.
Computer glasses put the optimum lens power for viewing your computer screen right where you need it for a clear, wide field of view without the need for excessive focusing effort or unhealthful postures. University research also shows custom computer eyewear can significantly increase worker productivity.
Symptoms of computer vision syndrome
If you or your child spends more than two hours a day in front of a computer screen, you will likely experience some degree of computer vision syndrome. Symptoms of CVS include:
- Loss of focus
- Burning eyes
- Tired eyes
- Red eyes
- Double vision
- Eye twitching
- Blurred vision
- Neck and shoulder pain
Causes of computer vision syndrome
Computer eye strain and computer vision syndrome are caused by our eyes and brain reacting differently to characters on a computer screen than they do to printed characters. Our eyes have little problem focusing on printed material that has dense black characters with well-defined edges. But characters on a computer screen don’t have the same degree of contrast and definition.
Words and images on a computer screen are created by combinations of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest at the center and diminish in intensity toward their edges. This makes it more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on them. Instead, our eyes want to drift to a reduced level of focusing called the “resting point of accommodation” or RPA.
Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the screen. This continuous flexing of the eyes’ focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly occur during and after computer use.
Reduce the risk of Computer Eye Strain and computer vision syndrome
To reduce your risk of computer eye strain and computer vision syndrome, see an optometrist or ophthalmologist who specializes in computer vision care.
During a computer vision exam, your eye doctor will perform tests to detect any vision problems that might contribute to CVS. Depending on the outcome of the exam, your doctor may prescribe computer eyeglasses to help you work more comfortably at your computer.
In addition to increasing comfort during computer use, recent studies have shown that computer eyeglasses can increase computer worker productivity, with cost savings to employers who provide the eyewear.
Will glare screens prevent CVS?
Anti-glare filters for computer screens can add some comfort, but they won’t solve all your computer vision problems. These filters only reduce glare from the reflection on the computer screen and do not reduce the visual problems related to the permanent repetition of your eyes when you work on the computer.
To reduce computer-related eye strain effectively, you may need computer eyewear to help your eyes focus on your screen more comfortably. Also, the anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for computer eyeglasses. Anti-reflective (AR) coating reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of eyeglass lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to focus on images on your screen.
Will computer eyeglasses make the screen clearer?
Yes, because computer glasses eliminate the constant refocusing effort that your eyes go through when viewing the screen.
Also, clinical studies have shown that having the correct prescription in computer eyeglasses increases productivity and accuracy.
Lenses For Computer Glasses
The best type of lenses for computer glasses usually depends on your age. If you are in your 40s or older, you likely have some degree of presbyopia. If so, multifocal lenses will usually be your best choice because they provide a better depth of focus than single vision lenses. This will let you see your computer screen clearly and also see objects that are closer and farther away than your screen.
Single vision lenses also are a good solution for computer glasses, though your depth of focus will be more limited with these lenses if you are presbyopic. Your eye doctor will help you decide whether multifocal or single vision lenses are the best solution for your work environment and your visual needs.
Lens Coatings and Tints
For maximum viewing comfort, the lenses of your computer glasses should include anti-reflective coating. Sometimes called anti-glare treatment, anti-reflective (AR) coating eliminates reflections of light from the front and back surfaces of your lenses that can cause eye strain.
Also, computer glasses with photochromic lenses can shield your eyes from potentially harmful high-energy visible blue light from your computer screen and digital devices — and automatically darken in sunlight outdoors, too.
Your eye doctor may also recommend adding a light tint to computer glasses to reduce glare caused by harsh overhead lighting and to enhance contrast.
For more details about anti-reflective coating and tints for your computer glasses consult your eye care professional.
Does every computer user need computer glasses?
With studies suggesting that most computer users experience some level of eye discomfort from computer work, it’s reasonable to say that most people who work on a computer more than a couple of hours daily could benefit from computer eyewear.
If you experience tired eyes, overall fatigue, or discomfort when working at your computer, schedule a computer vision exam. Your eye doctor can help you decide if computer eyeglasses are right for you.