Choosing Lens Power in Your Computer Reading Glasses


Known as that tired, strained feeling, computer eye strain or as it is technically called, Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), has become more common today as we spend hours, day after day in front of the computer.  CVS is usually characterized by fatigue, redness, irritation, burning or dryness and even double or blurred vision.  Depending on how many hours you spend at the computer; computer eye strain can affect your quality of life.

Do not despair, most of the symptoms of computer eye strain can be alleviated by making adjustments to your work environment, optimizing computer monitor settings, and using computer reading glasses that have the correct lens strength for your specific computer reading distance.  Read on for answers to the most FAQ on computer eyestrain and how to reduce it.

How are computer reading glasses different from ordinary reading glasses?

Selecting computer reading glasses requires careful analysis in order for them to be helpful in reducing eye strain and give you the clearest vision.  Computer reading glasses are reading glasses whose lens strength is determined by the distance you view your computer screen and are used specifically for reading at that distance. Traditionally the lens strength in reading glasses was measured based on book reading distance which is usually 14-16 inches. Since reading today is done at so many different distances, it is necessary to determine the distance at which you intend to use your computer reading glasses to get the correct lens strength that will help reduce your computer eye strain.

Just to make sense of this, choosing lens power is based on the scientific principle that focal power is inversely related to focal length; so the further away you hold your reading material the less lens strength you need to see clearly. Working at a computer screen at 18” will require a different lens strength than working at a computer that is 25” away.  Coatings and special lens treatments will make no difference if you are not corrected accurately.

An anti-reflective coating eliminates distracting surface reflections which is associated with most computer-related work. More research needs to be done to measure the true benefits of blue light blocking computer reading glasses.  Eliminating glare with a good quality anti-reflective coating, making changes to your surroundings and getting the proper correction in your computer reading glasses can greatly help cut down on computer eyestrain. 

Most importantly, using optical quality lenses with the correct lens power in your computer reading glasses is essential to seeing clearly and comfortably.


Sometimes a more personalized correction is necessary. If that's the case, I recommend measuring your reading distances before you get your eyes examined. Discuss this with your doctor so that you get the correct lens strength in your computer glasses that will work for your specific computer use.


Tips for reducing computer eye strain:

Use proper lighting to reduce glare
    • *Position your computer screen so as to avoid glare from windows or overhead lighting.
    • *Close blinds and move your screen from any light source that may be causing glare.
    • *A glare filter for your screen may also help.
    Adjust the position of your computer monitor
    • *Station your monitor so that it is approximately 18 to 28 inches from your eyes.
    • *Adjust your computer screen so that it is 4-6 inches below eye level.
    • *Try to keep materials beside the monitor so as to require less head movement.
    • *Desk height should be approximately 26 inches.
    • *Your arms should be positioned at a 90-degree angle when typing on your keyboard.
    Adjust your computer settings
      • *Adjust brightness and contrast settings until you find the balance that is easiest on your eyes.
      • *Increase the font size to make reading easier.
      • *Using boldface font will also help.
      • *Black Text on a white background is best or other high contrast combinations.
      Take a break
        • *Taking frequent breaks when working on the computer helps reduce eye strain.
        • *Just as changing your focus and blinking often. Blinking moistens your eyes and prevents dryness and irritation.
        • *After 20 minutes of computer use, change your focus to something at least 20 feet away for approximately 20 seconds. Known as the 20-20-20 Rule for Computer Use, this helps relax the muscles in the eye used for focusing.
        • *If you have a tendency to get very absorbed in your work, set an alarm on your phone or computer that will alert you to take a break.
        Get reading glasses specifically for computer use
          • *Get a routine eye exam. An uncorrected vision problem or an incorrect prescription can contribute to any eye strain you may be experiencing. Often a slight prescription change will make a noticeable difference.
          • *Get reading glasses for your specific working distance. By measuring your different working distances, your eye doctor can customize your prescription accordingly.
          • *If you experience dry eye discomfort, ask your doctor about lubricating eye drops.

          Tackling blue light stimulation

          • *Limit computer use and adjusting cell phone brightness before bedtime. 
          • *Switch to the night shift mode on your phone display to reduce stimulating blue light default cell phone settings.
          • *Switched out customary blue light led bulbs for warm white led bulbs, especially in the bedroom.
          • *Disconnect from all digital devices at least an hour before bedtime. 

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