Computers and many different kinds of electronic displays are increasingly becoming an integral part of our everyday working and private lives. They play a dominant role in practically every occupation and profession these days. Many people are still unaware of the stress and strain to which this subjects their eyes. Learn more about what makes computer glasses or workplace glasses special and how they can help to make your work at a computer easier. BETTER VISION gives you 10 tips about what aspects you should bear in mind when buying a pair of computer glasses.
Normally, the first symptom of eyestrain caused by computer work is not blurred vision, but eye fatigue, headache, neck or back pain or sensitivity to light. Your eyes may also be dry or red, and you may experience a burning or stinging sensation. This is the result of concentrating on a computer screen for long periods of time, possibly also with an unnatural posture. These problems are further compounded by the need to move your eyes constantly between close distances, e.g. reference documents on your desk, and the intermediate range, e.g. looking up to talk to colleagues or customers.
A visit to your optometrist and an eye examination will reveal whether you need special glasses for computer use.
From a certain age onwards, usually between 35 and 45, the ability of the lenses in our eyes to adapt to different distances – or accommodation as the experts call it – diminishes. This is very often a very gradual process. We start to notice it when we have to hold a newspaper or small print at arm's length to read it. This is a condition known as presbyopia. Many people initially opt for reading spectacles to remedy this problem. Work at a computer also becomes increasingly strenuous. Suddenly, we find it difficult to make out the figures in Excel spreadsheets and have to increase the font size on our computer. The texts on our smartphone become blurred and hard to read. The result: we reach for our reading glasses.
The most important requirement that computer glasses must fulfil is that they need to be adapted to exactly the distance needed for screen or display work. This can vary greatly between one person and another.
Initially, a pair of reading glasses may seem to be a good solution. But remember: reading glasses are designed for very close distances. To see text and images clearly on your computer, you need to move closer to the screen. By doing this, you inevitably adopt a poor and uncomfortable posture. This can result in tension in your neck and back. Even the most ergonomically correct office chair or the best mouse available won't help here.
The next step may be varifocals which you can wear all day for clear, comfortable vision at near and far. These are a very good choice for most everyday situations, but they are suitable for desk or computer work to a limited extent only. Progressive lenses allow you to see at all distances. The lower section of a progressive lens helps you see objects that are close to you. When working at a screen, you also look through the bottom section of the lens. To do this, you have to lift your head in order to see clearly. Adopting this unnatural posture over long periods of time puts excessive strain on your neck and shoulders.
This is precisely where computer glasses are the perfect answer. Their visual zones are precisely tailored to the movements of your eyes when you are working. They can also be individualised to meet your own personal requirements. These glasses offer a very large field of vision at close and intermediate distances (between half a metre and four metres). This means you enjoy optimum vision in precisely the range of vision your job requires. Your head and neck remain in a natural, relaxed position the whole day long.
And that is by no means all! There are also different designs to choose from, depending on the visual requirements of your job or your leisure activities.
Computer glasses with the lens type "Near": With this design, the maximum distance over which the spectacle wearer has clear vision is set at two metres. It therefore provides high-quality, natural vision from reading distance right into the intermediate range of two metres. This computer lens is ideal for people who work mainly at a computer or read a lot.
Computer glasses with the lens type "Room": With this lens, the maximum distance is set to four metres, providing the wearer with comfortable vision from the reading distance to a typical room distance of around four metres. The "Room" version is designed for people who, for example, work intermittently with customers and at a computer screen. When walking around, they do not notice that they are actually wearing computer glasses.
Computer glasses with the lens type "Book": "Book" has a stronger focus on the reading range with a maximum distance of one metre. Compared with reading glasses which are generally designed for a fixed and personal reading distance, "Book" offers a significantly larger field of vision for a more relaxed reading experience.
Computer glasses with the lens type "Individual": This version is tailored to the personal needs of each individual wearer. The optimum maximum viewing distance in the room is defined to the nearest centimetre for each and every wearer. In addition, the wearer's frame data, the shape of his or her face and the near working distance are all factored into the lens design.
Your optometrist will help you decide what type of lens is most suitable to meet your personal needs.
Strictly speaking, you don't yet need progressive lenses, but reading glasses are not the best solution for your computer work either. But can you choose computer glasses for your very first pair of spectacles? Yes, under certain circumstances. Some people who notice the first signs of presbyopia initially require lenses for reading only, but none for distance vision. However, reading spectacles alone are not enough as they are designed for very close distances only. The solution may be computer glasses that are precisely optimised for the distances you need. If you opt for lens type "Room," you can walk around the office or talk to customers without any problems while wearing your computer glasses. The lower the power prescribed for near vision, the less you will "notice" that you are wearing glasses. Digital lenses may also be a good solution here. Your optometrist will be pleased to give you more advice on this matter.
You should definitely choose a high-quality coating. In offices and production facilities your eyes normally have to cope with bright ceiling lighting. To ensure that reflections do not impair the quality of your vision at work, you should select a good antireflective coating for your lenses.
A hard protective coating ensures that your computer glasses can also withstand the stress and strain of everyday work. A Clean Coat decisively improves the cleaning properties of your lenses – or helps prevent them from becoming dirty in the first place.
More about lens finishing
The effects of blue light are currently the subject of much debate. We need blue light for a healthy body and our general well-being, but blue light radiation can also be dangerous. One thing we know for certain is that we are now exposed to more blue light than ever before due to modern light sources such as LED lighting and the radiation emitted by computer screens. Some people find this blue light irritating or strenuous.
The answer to this problem could well be lenses with a special coating: ZEISS lenses with DuraVision® Blue Protect. The clear lenses feature a new lens coating which contains a hard coating and Clean Coat technology to make them easier to clean, as well as a blue filter which attenuates blue light in the range from 390 to 440 nm.
More about ZEISS DuraVision® Blue Protect
It may sound strange, but computer glasses may well be exactly what you need for your favourite hobby, e.g. reading, watching TV, cooking, surfing and chatting on the Internet or playing a musical instrument. They are ideal for any task which you perform at close range or at near to intermediate distances.
Two things are important to ensure that you enjoy optimum vision when working at a computer: firstly, it is important for your optometrist to know exactly where and for what tasks your new computer glasses will be used. So don't be surprised if he or she asks you what may initially seem to be personal questions. Secondly, the refraction and fitting processes, as well as the subsequent centration of the lenses in the spectacle frame, must be performed with the utmost precision. Tiny points of detail can influence the quality of vision provided by your new glasses. The more exact these processes are, the faster you will adapt to your new spectacles. Ensure that your optometrist takes sufficient time to fit your computer glasses. Lenses of this type should not be treated as mere "by-products" of progressive lenses.
That is quite simple: the better the glasses design of your office lens and the more exact the configuration of your glasses, the faster you will adapt to your new glasses. This requires the experience and skills of your optometrist on the one hand, and the knowhow and expertise of the lens manufacturer on the other.
Another important factor is that you should try to wear your computer glasses regularly right from day one so that not only your eyes, but also your brain have time to adapt. After this, there is nothing to prevent you from enjoying better vision at work and at home.