As we rely more and more on digital devices in our lives, from computers at work to smartphones and tablets everywhere, computer glasses have emerged as a useful tool to protect our eye health.
Why use computer glasses?
Our lifestyles and workplace have changed dramatically in the digital age – more time in front of a computer at work and more time in front of digital screens such as smartphones and tablets in general. Recent studies have shown that Americans spend around 10 hours a day on average in front of a screen.
Where do computer glasses fall into all of this? Digital screens emit blue light, which our eyes can’t filter. This overexposure to blue light, especially during nighttime or in poorly-lit rooms, can affect sleep patterns as well as cause long-term damage. A more short-term effect of spending too much time in front of the screen are symptoms of CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome, more on that later).
Computer glasses filter the light emitting from screens, provide relief from CVS symptoms and reduce glare.
What is Computer Vision Syndrome?
CVS, or computer vision syndrome, is basically an umbrella term that includes a slew of symptoms caused by spending over two hours a day in front of a digital screen.
Our eyes and brain react differently to reading characters off print compared to how they read it off a screen. It’s more difficult for us to maintain focus on digital characters, as our eyes automatically attempt to drift to a reduced level of focus. The strain we feel after long hours of viewing a computer screen is caused by the effort to maintain focus.
Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, eye fatigue, neck & shoulder pain, and more. One of the side effects of using computer glasses is improved productivity at work, which has been shown in different studies conducted among workers before and after using them.
What computer glasses do
Computer glasses filter a high portion of the blue light emitted from screens and make it easier for our eyes to maintain focus, relieving the stress on the eyes and reducing the symptoms of CVS.
Different type of computer glasses prescriptions
A common misconception regarding computer glasses, also known as ‘glasses with digital block’ on some online retailers, is that they resemble safety glasses. Nothing could be further from the truth, as almost any style of frame can be used for computer glasses.
The same goes for different types of prescription. Single vision glasses for reading can be used as computer glasses, although computer reading glasses aren’t optimal for computer use, as they correct vision to about 16 inches, while the distance of computer screens from our eyes tends to fall into the intermediate category of 20 to 26 inches.
Occupational progressive prescription glasses or occupational bifocals which are specifically designed with a larger intermediate zone on the lens are much more effective as computer glasses, both in filtering blue light and enabling the eyes to focus on the screen without an effort.
Occupational trifocals can be used for computer glasses as well.
Computer Glasses & lens coatings
There are two types of coatings that enhance the efficiency of computer glasses:
- An anti-reflective coating (or anti-glare), which eliminates the reflections of light from your lenses, reducing eye strain.
- Photochromic lenses (also known as transition lenses) can help filter high-energy blue light to help reduce eye strain, as well as provide its other benefits, among them darken outdoors, eliminating the need to walk around with a pair of sunglasses too.
Another way of reducing glare from computer glasses is applying a light tint. Most speciality glasses for computer use have a subtle yellow tint due to the filtering of blue light, although some of the newer, more advanced lenses of computer screen glasses appear clear instead of tinted while filtering blue light, sometimes less than your standard computer glasses. People who are bothered by the tint might opt for those.