Choosing 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 place 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. Many of the symptoms of computer eyestrain can be alleviated by making adjustments to your work environment, optimizing computer monitor settings, and using reading glasses for your specific computer distance.

How are computer reading glasses different from ordinary reading glasses?

This seems to be the most FAQ today since more and more time is spent reading at the computer and just about everyone is experiencing discomforting eyestrain. Depending on how many hours you spend at the computer, computer eyestrain can affect your quality of life. Read on for answers on how to reduce your computer eyestrain.

Selecting computer reading glasses requires careful analysis in order for them to be helpful in reducing eyestrain 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 reading glasses were measured for book reading distance which is typically 14-16 inches. Now since reading 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. Eliminating glare with an anti-reflective coating and making changes to your surroundings can greatly help cut down on computer eyestrain.  More research needs to be done to establish any true benefits to blue light blocking computer reading glasses.  

Using the correct lens power in your computer reading glasses is most important 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 to help reduce computer eye strain:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Adjust your computer settings
  • *Adjust brightness and contrast settings until you find the balance that is easiest on your eyes.
  • *Increase font size to make reading easier.
  • *Using bold face font will also help.
  • *Black Text on a white background is best or other high contrast combinations.
  1. Take a break
  • *Taking frequent breaks when working at 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.
  1. 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.

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