If you suffer from burning eyes or headaches when working at the computer or using your smartphone, this might be the result of not having a pair of glasses or not having the right pair of glasses.
But what should you pay attention to when making your selection? Dr. David Kaplan, an optometrist from Glendale, California (USA), and Dr. Timo Mappes, Senior Vice President for Innovation at ZEISS Vision Care, provide some tips.
Mappes: Dr. Kaplan, you just consulted with a patient. Were you able to help him?
Kaplan: Yes. He complained of tired eyes and thought this might be normal when you're 45.
While speaking with him I learned that he's an IT specialist who spends hours in front of the computer screen. I explained to him that age alone does not explain his discomfort, but that the long periods in front of the computer screen do.
I experience this phenomenon again and again: patients complain about dry eyes, headaches or neck pain, but don't make the connect between these symptoms and their work using digital devices.
During the eye examination, I first ask my patients about their symptoms and lifestyle before I recommend a pair of glasses to improve their vision.
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Spectacle lenses for digital lifestyles
Mappes: What kind of glasses are right for people who spend a lot of time using digital devices, i.e. those who lead a digital life?
Kaplan: I would estimate that 40% of all my patients opt for ZEISS lenses optimised for digital lifestyles because these provide them with more comfortable vision.
Mappes: You just used the word "comfortable". The blue light emitted by the screens on these devices is often mentioned in connection with digital eyestrain caused by the excessive use of smartphones, tablets, etc., in addition to the very short reading distance. This blue light can be potentially damaging or reduce visual comfort. At the same, time the scientific evidence in support of these statements is still being discussed. What is your position?
Kaplan: This has still not been adequately studied scientifically, but I know what experience has taught me: patients repeatedly say that they enjoy significantly more comfortable vision with ZEISS lens designs and ZEISS DuraVision Blue Protect. Other eye care professionals have told me the same thing. You should really think about getting a lens coating if you spend more than two or three hours in front of the computer screen. I also recommend it for children who play a lot of video games.
The secret to ZEISS' success
Mappes: You are obviously quite impressed. Why do you think that ZEISS offers the right lenses for digital lifestyles?
Kaplan: I've been working with the company for 20 years and have both experienced and actively followed many different developments. ZEISS was always years ahead of the competition. I would actually like to know: how does ZEISS always succeed in being so innovative?
Mappes: We listen very carefully to the wishes and needs of our customers when developing lenses. For example, we rely on in-depth interviews when conducting market studies. Depending on the field of application, we involve external partners to help us realise our ambitions and always select the best from industry and research. The result: innovative, technologically cutting-edge solutions and products which, most importantly, completely meet our customers' requirements.
New lenses for a new lifestyle
Kaplan: What is the secret behind ZEISS lens solutions for optimum vision in today's digital world?
Mappes: The lens design is new and is based on two findings. First, the wearer's visual behaviour and, most importantly, the typical reading distances in the digital world have changed. When working at the computer, the distance between your eyes and the monitor is greater than when you hold a book in your hand. But the reading distance when using a smartphone is much shorter than with a book.
And our eyes need to also adjust quickly, such as when you shift your focus to look at a colleague at the other end of the office.
Second, illuminated displays are not something you find in nature. Many people walk through the world with the smartphone directly in front of their eyes – you didn't see this kind of behaviour when there were just newspapers. Our spectacle lenses are specially designed to accommodate these challenges posed by our digital lifestyles.
Why a consultation with your optician is so important
Mappes: How has your work changed?
Kaplan: These days I need to provide my patients with a more in-depth consultation. This is largely a consequence of their digital lifestyles. I advise people who experience the symptoms we've discussed to make sure that their optometrist or optician asks them specific questions about any physical discomfort and addresses their particular situation. When this happens, you arrive almost automatically at ZEISS lenses for perfect vision in the digital world.
We would like to thank optometrist Dr. David Kaplan and Dr. Timo Mappes, Senior Vice President for Innovation at ZEISS Vision Care, for this conversation in July 2016.
Learn more about the digital lifestyle and its challenges
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Personalised advice: find a ZEISS optician near you
Glasses serve a simple purpose: to help the wearer enjoy the best-possible vision. Yet in practice this is a major technological feat requiring both great expertise and an optician who takes sufficient time for their patients. Only comprehensive knowhow and a thorough consultation ensure an individualised solution that will satisfy you for many years to come. Find an optician near you ...