With so many people using computers for lengthy periods or time – for work, for surfing the internet and for entertainment – a new syndrome is increasingly affecting people’s health: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
Viewing computer-generated print and images on a screen or monitor for prolonged periods is harder on the eyes than viewing a similar amount of material on the printed pages of a book or a magazine – and it takes a toll. CVS is characterised by blurred vision, difficulty focusing, dry and irritated eyes and other symptoms.
Worse still, many people try to compensate for their blurred vision by leaning forward, or by tipping their head to look through the bottom portion of their glasses. These unnatural postures can lead to headaches, neck and shoulder pain and backaches.
So what can you do to make your eyes more comfortable and function more efficiently during computer use?
Customised computer glasses can make a world of difference. These special-purpose glasses are prescribed specifically to reduce eyestrain and give you the most comfortable vision at your computer. If you already wear prescription eyeglasses or reading glasses, you may be tempted to dismiss the idea of computer glasses. But eyeglasses prescribed for general purpose wearing are often not well-suited for prolonged computer work.
There are a number of special-purpose lens designs that work well for computer glasses. Because these lenses are prescribed specifically for computer use, they are unsuitable for driving or general-purpose wear.
The simplest computer glasses have single vision lenses with a modified lens power prescribed to give the most comfortable vision at the user’s computer screen. These lenses relax the amount of focusing the eyes have to do to keep images on the computer screen clear and provide the largest field of view, reducing the need for head tilting and other unnatural posture changes during computer work.
For older computer users, a specially designed progressive lens for computer use is sometimes a better option. Progressive lenses for computer use have a larger intermediate zone than regular progressive lenses for a wider, more comfortable view of the computer screen.
Lens coatings and treatments
Anti-reflective coating can make your computer glasses even more comfortable. This coating reduces glare caused by reflections of overhead fluorescent lighting that can occur in uncoated eye
Aine Higgins is an optician based in Mongey’s Opticians, Castlebar and Ballinrobe. She was the first Irish optician to be nominataed for the UK and Ireland Optician of the Year 2009.