Computer Vision Syndrome

For a detailed review of computer vision syndrome, it’s many contributing factors and means of “minimizing the symptoms”. I strongly recommend visiting the web sites listed in my links page under the Vision Related heading!

My comments here are directed at a few areas that do not get the attention they deserve OR are somewhat misleading.

See the information on the computer eyeglasses we designed to relieve symptoms related to computer vision syndrome.

Office Lighting standards have not improved dramatically over the past forty years. We still rely heavily on standard (read cheap) fluorescent bulbs that can produce excessive glare due to a strong “blue” light spectrum. Lighting remain one of the most important factors in Computer Vision Syndrome.

There are many “tinted” lenses marketed as computer glasses based on the attenuation of “blue” light and there are some limited studies that report improved operator comfort. My suggestion is that wearing a ball cap would likely provide the same protection from overhead glare and not have quite as much of an effect upon your pupil’s dilation which in turn reduces the depth of field in clear focus through the eye. Think of your manual camera settings, a small aperture creates pictures where the depth of view is larger whereas with a wide open lens only the person you focused on is clear & things in front and behind are fuzzy!

Do not forget that insufficient illumination can be just as fatiguing as too much glare! The tint present in our lenses is very, very, very slight and is hardly noticable in terms of reducing the illumination levels (not sunglasses).

The only real relief we could identify was to use anti-reflective coatings on lenses.

Distance to the computer monitor is often reported as 20″ from the eye. With larger screens, flat screens and workstations designed for computer use the average distance of the monitor has increased to an average of 23″ and in many cases even further away!

If you can get the monitor as far away as 28″ there would be much less eyestrain as there is considerably less “vergence” necessary and your eyes are much more comfortable.

Obviously you need to know how far away the monitor will be IF you want to wear any corrective lenses while viewing the monitor. Computer glasses with a plus diopter “add” that brings things into clear focus at 20″ are going to too strong for viewing at 24″! Unless you were questioned by your vision professional about what you are going to be looking at through bifocal lenses they may use the default value of 16″ which is great for reading a book but not so great for viewing a keyboard or looking at documents on your desk some 18″ away. Computer vision syndrome is contributed to by the frequent visual accommodation required to switch from viewing the monitor to the desktop.

General Eye Fatigue, tired eyes, etc. can be related to many, many environmental conditions from dust to allergies to dry air etc. It does appear that the simplest and most effective solution is to use a high quality eye drop to lubricate the eye AND if you have the discipline necessary then take frequent breaks from your work to look at a distance and blink frequently! Buy $5 worth of eye drops & try taking a “vision” break every 15 minutes next week! This may relieve most computer vision syndrome symptoms.

Anti-Reflective Coatings are effective in cutting out some glare and unquestionably more attractive especially with “rimless” styled glasses. Unlike some of the almost clear a/r coatings the ones used on our lenses is noticeable when looking at the computer glasses from the front.

This anti-reflective coating is similar to what you see on the front of good quality binoculars. A greenish or purple reflection can be seen if you look at the reading glasses from the front in the presence of glare (reflected light). When worn you have a very, very, very slight tint that helps increase contrast. A worthwhile option since it also increases scratch resistance. Unfortunately most optical labs charge $30 to $40 just for this additional service.

Progressive lenses which give you closeup, intermediate and distance vision all in one package have improved markedly over the past five years. These are also a great profit center for optical stores and are considered by many to make the best possible computer glasses. However, they are expensive, and not everyone is able to successfully adapt to the different visual field presented. Not all progressive lenses are equal and in many cases the most expensive are likely going to be the best bargain over time. Make sure your optometrist and optician are experienced in both prescribing and fitting these lenses since it is considerably more difficult than bifocals are. Keep in mind that if your prescription changes for close up viewing you will need an entirely new lens made. As an aside many people find it hard to adjust even to the “no line” bifocal adds. Certainly not a simple one step solution to computer vision syndrome symptoms.

Frame Selection is a matter of personal preference but keep in mind that you do not need a frame suitable for mountain biking while viewing a computer. The lighter the frame the more comfortable wearing the eyeglasses will be. If they look good then you have a better chance of wearing them during computer use and reduce computer vision syndrome symptoms.

Wear and Tear on Glasses. Before spending $200 on a pair of custom computer eye glasses keep in mind that since these are specifically for use with the computer you will be putting them on & off frequently so choose the right frame. Since you will be leaving them on the desk, or in the desk or lying around all over the place they are likely more at risk of breakage or loss than if they stayed on your head! A light and very convenient soft case for storage is a very good idea! Also keeping a microfiber cloth handy for cleaning.


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