What Makes Computer Glasses Different?
by Tim Shea
- Nearly 60% of people use digital devices for 5+ hours a day
- 70% of people use two or more devices at a time.
This constant exposure to technology has become hard on our eyes. In this post we’ll walk through the impact computer screens are having on us and what computer glasses do to help.
What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)?What your mother probably called "eye strain", the American Optometric Association labels "Computer Vision Syndrome". It is a direct result of prolonged exposure to the screens used by most modern devices, such as:
- Blinking less and drying out
- Straining to fight glare
- Compensating for poor contrast
- Tensing inner eye muscles
Experiencing this once or twice a week probably won’t cause noticeable symptoms. However, very few people use computers that sparingly. Today, computers are everywhere we go. The more you use a computer, the greater the risk. Studies shows between 50 and 90 percent of people who use computers at work suffer from computer vision syndrome to some degree. Computers require your eyes to continually refocus – this puts a strain on almost every element of vision from the muscles that control eye movement to the nerves that send images to the brain for interpretation.
The Symptoms of CVSCVS is characterized by experiencing one or more of the common symptoms below. These symptoms are normally caused by, or aggravated by, computer screen use:
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Dry eyes
- Red eyes
- Eye irritation
- Frequent headaches
- Neck or shoulder pain
While only a professional can diagnose or treat CVS, those experiencing these symptoms can cease computer screen use to see if their symptoms subside.
Why Computer Glasses Make a Difference
Computer glasses do more than just adjust your vision. They work to optimize your eyesight when you are in front of a computer screen. Simple computer glasses relax the eyes and work to keep objects in focus based on the average distance between the eye and the screen. For most people, the computer screen sits about 20 to 26 inches away. This basic adjustment keeps the eyes from constantly refocusing in order to reduce strain. These glasses are normally a good option for people with average vision. More complex computer glasses have multifocal progressive lenses that correct whether you are near or far from your screen. Unlike traditional multifocal glasses, these offer an intermediate zone making them more comfortable for computer use. They work well for individuals who already wear bifocal or even trifocals lenses. It is the special coating that really makes computer glasses stand out, though. The anti-reflective coating recommended for this type of eyewear eliminates reflections from the screen.
What About Blue Light?
There is one more issue with computer screens that make these glasses different than you standard reading lenses. Computer screens, even the ones on mobile devices like a tablet, emit a short wavelength of blue light that contributes to eye strain and ocular discomfort. Blue light exposure can also cause problems with sleep and may increase your risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration.
Optometrists may recommend a light tint for blocking blue light, reducing glare and keeping your eyes safer.
Are Computer Glasses Enough?Computer glasses are just part of a comprehensive treatment for computer vision syndrome. In addition, you should follow the 20-20-20 rule:
- Look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes.
- Look at something at least 20 feet away from you.
- Maintain that gaze for 20 seconds.
If you sit in front of a computer for a few hours a day, make sure the screen is about an arm’s length away and positioned so the top is at or below eye level.
A few healthy habits and the use of computer glasses will make your time in front of a computer more comfortable and protect your eyes from CVS at the same time.