EYEGLASSES

Computer Glasses: What to Know Before You Buy

Cole Palmer
Written by Cole Palmer

The type of life we spend in today’s era has made it impossible to cut down on screen time. If we look at it, we realize that approximately 80 percent of our day is spent in front of the blue light emitting screens. This holds for the young generation as well. All of their leisure time activities, as well as their studies, require the use of laptops, tablets or televisions.

By the extended use of these screens, our eyes become strained which not only affects our eyes and their focusing ability but also has certain psychological affects one of them is a disturbed and uneasy sleep cycle.

The reason for this is the high-frequency blue light, which unlike the visible region of light does not stop at the lens of the eye, rather enters the retina of the eye and causes macular degeneration.

Computer Vision Syndrome

With no margin of cutting down on screen time, the only possible solution is to protect our eyes from the harmful rays. The complete guide to using, buying and functionality of digital glasses is given in this article.

Why Digital Protection Glasses?

As mentioned earlier, digital eyestrain is something that is prevailing among adults and children alike. If you use prescription glasses and they are up to date, yet you face focusing problems and redness or blurriness in eyes, the only solution is investing in a good quality pair of these special glasses.

These glasses are not similar to the regular prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses; they are specifically made for the optimization and enhancement of visual abilities and for the protection of your eyes from the high-frequency blue light and UV rays that are being constantly emitted from the screens.

The laptop and tablet screens are placed at a distance known as the intermediate distance from our eyes. This is around 26 inches to 28 inches, which is more than the reading distance and less than the driving distance.

Computer Eye Strain

At this distance, the blue light directly aims at your retina and can cause macular degeneration along with other problems, which might persist. Moreover, the user can also develop computer vision syndrome or computer eye strain. Both these problems affect the focusing power of the eye.

The eye strain for children and young adults is usually because of the inability of the eyes to stay focused on the screen or the keyboard mainly because the eyes have to constantly change focus, within the process of changing the focus again and again the eye is strained and the vision becomes blurry. For adults with the age above 40, the inability to focus can be due to the natural loss of focusing ability that comes with age. This is also known as presbyopia.

The eye strain that comes with excessive use of computer screens cannot be fixed with rubbing your eyes, washing them or bringing the computer screen closer. Moreover, some people tend to tip or lean forward in order to get rid of the blurriness and strain they feel on their eyes. However, this not only makes the eye strain worse, it puts you at a risk of developing sore shoulder and neck muscles.

Here, your best shot is getting yourself a pair of computer glasses. They have different names like digital protection glasses, computer glasses, anti-strain glasses, anti-blue light glasses etc. but they definitely work towards the betterment of your eyes, whatever you call them.

Glasses for Computer

You will find these glasses in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Very few glasses block almost all the blue light, others have a percentage of blocking between 65 percent and 85 percent. As compared to this 100 percent ultraviolet rays are blocked including UV-A and UV-B.

Apart from the blocking or rays, some other technologies like anti-glare, anti-reflective, anti-fog, anti-smudge et cetera are also used to make the wearing experience better.

People who started using these have seen a positive change in their quality of life, visual ability as well as in their headaches and sleeping cycles. Not knowingly, with the use of blue light emitting screens we are deteriorating our visual health, which is why using these glasses is imperative.

Computer Eye Strain

Computer eye strain is caused by excessive use of computer, phone, tablet or television without protection. We normally blink about 15-17 times in a minute but while using our computers the number of blinks per minute reduces to as low as 5.

This not only makes the eye susceptible to dust particles and viruses but also prevents the tears from distributing evenly in the eyes, which can cause dry eyes. Moreover, less blinking means more exposure to blue light, this way the blue light has more time to enter the retina and cause macular degeneration.

Furthermore, this strain is encouraged by the repetitive path that is followed by your eyes i.e. between the screen and the keyboard. It is somewhat similar to the carpal tunnel syndrome. Working on a laptop means constant focusing and defocusing of the eyes, this requires tremendous effort from the muscles around the eye area and inside your eye.

Moreover, unlike a book, the computer screen throws large amounts of glare, flicker, and contrast towards us. All these factors lead to one thing that is the computer eye strain.

The strain can be prevented with proper protection and proper care which includes keeping the computer screen at a distance of at least 25 inches. Also, keep the brightness low and use matte screen filters. A small exercise is known as 20:20:20 rule can also help in minimizing the eye strain to a great extent.

Man is Working at the Office

All you have to do is after every 20 minutes, look at an object that is 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This helps in relieving the strain. In addition, it is advised that you take a short break after every 2 hours of screen time.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is something that most of us face when we use our phones, laptops or tablets for a prolonged time. The discomfort in the eyes increases with the increased use of blue light emitting screens.

Redness of eyes, low focusing ability, extremely dry eyes, watering, burning etc. these are all the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Neck and shoulder pain along with disturbed sleep cycle is also something people with computer vision syndrome complain about.

Most of us like using our computers in the dark, which is one of the greatest reasons for developing computer vision syndrome. This is also accelerated by the fact that people who require prescription glasses don’t use them and still spend lots of time in front of the screen. Your seating posture and position of the screen also has a large effect on your eyes. All these factors combined can cause digital eye strain leading to computer vision syndrome.

Using Computer at Night

The 20:20:20 rule described above is a great way to prevent computer vision syndrome along with investing in a good quality pair of computer glasses that keep most of the harmful rays out.

What Are Computer Glasses?

Glasses are worn to correct a certain kind of visual problem, which can be short sightedness, long sightedness, or any other problem. There are different kinds of glasses for fixing different problems. For example, you cannot wear prescription glasses as sunglasses, same goes for PC glasses.

Computer glasses are basically protection glasses constructed for people who have to work in front of screens for long hours. As described above, longer screen time has adverse effects on our eyes and mental health. To protect us from the rays that deteriorate our visual ability, these distinctive glasses are constructed.

On average, a person spends 8 hours or more in front of a laptop, TV, tablet or mobile phone. The longer time you spend the greater is the strain, which makes us prone to further visual problems including macular degeneration. The worst part is if you don’t take the necessary precautions these problems might get permanent.

The lens used in the glasses are specially made to bounce off the blue light and the ultraviolet rays along with the glare and contrast that comes along with it. These lenses have a special anti-reflective coating and most of them are either yellow tinted or amber to neutral out the contrast that is too harsh on the eyes.

The lenses have optimum power to make the computer screen look exactly where you need it. Some of these come with a patented magnification power for this reason. Without great effort on your end and without making your muscles strain, these glasses give you the kind of clear view and protection that is required.

Lens Design

Special purpose lenses are made for computer glasses. These lenses are not fit for use for other purposes like driving or outdoor wearing. The single vision lenses used in computer glasses are the most common and the simplest form. They can be customized according to the prescription of the buyer and the cylindrical power can be added which comes with the doctor’s prescription.

These lenses are made to provide relaxation and accommodation to the user along with the ability to keep the objects in focus. This way the eye muscles don’t have to work a lot and the eye does not go into the strain. Along with this, a large field of view is also provided to keep the screen in clear view for the user.

Glasses with CR 39 Lenses

These single vision lenses help in the reduction of risk of eye strain, blurred vision, dryness, redness and all other symptoms of computer vision syndrome. The risk of bad posture and sore back and neck muscles is also reduced. The eye muscles and the neck and shoulder muscles are related. If you have eye strain, you naturally start developing sore muscles in the shoulder and neck area along with bad posture.

The second popular lens used are a multi-focal lens that is no line and helps in correcting all distance vision problems which include near, intermediate and up to a point or far distance objects. These lenses are known as occupational progressive lenses.

Since computers are placed in the intermediate distance zone, the intermediate zone of these lenses is enhanced and increased. This way the user gets a clearer and more comfortable vision as compared to a regular progressive lens.

The downside of the occupational progressive lens is that due to a larger intermediate zone, the far distance zone becomes shorter which is why it is strictly advised not to use these lenses while driving as it may hinder the visual ability.

Glasses for Computer Use

Apart from this regular bifocal and trifocal as well as occupational bifocal and trifocal lenses are also used. These are not as popular as single vision and occupational progressive lenses but are used by people who require a longer near and intermediate zone. These lenses can also be customized according to your needs of the near and intermediate zone.

Anti-Reflective Coating of the Lens

The anti-reflective coating also known as anti-glare coating reduces the eye strain by decreasing the number of reflections on both the front and the back of the lens. Since these reflections are minimized the amount of light that is passed through the glasses is increased which makes the view better as well. A lens that has more reflections cause more distractions. This coating is especially important for high index lenses, which have more reflection as compared to a low index of refraction lenses.

Low plastic lenses reflect 8 percent of the light allowing 92 percent of the light to enter while glasses with a high index of refraction lenses reflect 50 percent more of the light as compared to plastic lenses. The anti-reflective coating available nowadays reduces the amount of reflected light to as low as 0.5 percent.

The anti-reflective coating improves the visual quality and improves the visibility during the night and while driving. The coating is basically microscopic layers of a number of metallic oxides that have alternating high and low refraction indexes which help in neutralizing the reflections. These coatings are extremely thin; a single layer is about 0.2 or 0.3 microns.

Glasses with Anti Reflective Lenses

Most of the these come with anti-reflection and an anti-glare coating, which helps, in better visual quality and a clearer vision of the screens.

Lens Tints

Computer lenses present in the market are of three types, yellow tinted, amber tinted and clear lenses. These tints not only help in improving the contrast of the screen but also helps in filtering out the harmful rays, which let the muscles of the eyes relax. The tint of the lens also has a great impact on the blue light protection factor.

Blue light protection factor (BPF) is a scale that measures the amount of blue light that is filtered out to protect the eyes from harmful rays. The BPF scale ranges from 0 to 100 in percentage. The higher the blue light protection factor the better for our eyes.

The yellow tinted lens available on the market usually have the highest Blue light protection factor which is 99 percent but this is not valid for all the companies. Some very high-end companies provide a BPF factor this high; apart from this, the amber tinted lens blocks 65-85 percent of the blue light, which is its BPF. The clear lenses, which don’t have any tint have the lowest blue light protection, factor that is between 35 percent to 65 percent.

Man is Wearing Yellow Tinted Glasses

These tinted glasses come in prescription glasses as well so you can customize them according to your needs. Moreover, you can get tint stickers that can be applied to other normal glasses but their functionality is nowhere near the functionality of glasses used for working on computers.

Nowadays, photochromatic lenses are also available in the market.

How Do These Glasses Protect Your Eyes?

These glasses are constructed with the purpose of reducing eye strain caused due to the excessive use of computers and similar devices. Basically, the essence of these glasses like any other glasses lies in the lenses. The lenses used are special with a minimum of 4-5 different layers.

The base is, of course, the lens, which is usually of zero power but can also be customized according to the prescription given to the user by the doctor. Above the lens, a layer of primer is applied which is basically an impact resistance layer that prevents breaking of the lens on any kind of impact. After that, a hard coating is applied which is a scratch resistance layer to improve that quality and durability of the lens.

Up till this layer, the basic necessities of the lens are taking care of after this the anti-reflective or anti-glare coating is done which on its own has as much as 5-6 layers. These layers are present for glare reduction and for the prevention of accumulation of dust particles which also improves the life of the lens.

The last layer is the smudge resistance layer and water repellence layer that prevents the glasses from getting dirty. Some of the glasses also have an added tint which helps in filtering out the harmful rays.

When the user wears computer glasses in front of a screen all the harsh lights, harmful rays and contrast are blocked or filtered out by the layers of coating done on the lenses. This prevents the blue light from entering into our retina and also prevent the eye fatigue.

These glasses work in the intermediate distance zone since that is where usually computers are placed and this is the zone from which our eyes need protection. Moreover, the contrast and visual quality are also improved as the anti-reflection coating lets almost all the light pass through.

Benefits Of Computer Glasses And What Can You Expect?

As mentioned earlier, glasses that are worn for working on computer are not similar to normal prescription glasses. They do not help in optimizing blurred vision that happens due to short or long sightedness rather these glasses are specifically made to optimize your vision and protect your eyes while using a computer or a screen that emits harmful rays.

Woman is Wearing Computer Glasses

Most people think that the companies are just trying to sell their product and there is no such thing as harmful blue light. However, years and years of research has shown that blue light has devastating effects on our eyes and psychological health which is why using glasses designed for working on computers is a must for both adults and children.

The main benefits of computer glasses are:

  1. Focus: The main symptom of computer vision syndrome is losing focus. Wearing these assists in keeping the focus of the eyes intact as it doesn’t let the eye muscles strain.
  2. Blue light prevention: Blue light is very harmful to the eyes since it does not stop at the lens of the eye rather it penetrates into the retina and causes macular degeneration. These glasses prevent this harmful blue light enter your retina and hence prevents the long-term problems that can occur because of it.
  3. Computer vision syndrome: This syndrome is quite common among people who have to work in front of screens for a longer period of time. Using computer glasses while working on laptops or tablets not only prevents the symptoms of computer vision syndrome but also reverse the effects that are already present.
  4. Psychological health: Due to longer screen times, the psychological health of a person also deteriorates as the blue light has a number of adverse effects. All these effects are reversed and further deterioration is also prevented. Numerous people have reported that due to the regular usage of glasses made particularly for computer usage has made sleep cycle normal again along with other positive effects.
  5. Relaxed muscles: Longer screen times causes stressed out muscles around the eye area as well as around the shoulder and neck area. These stressed muscles are eased out by the use of these unique glasses.

You can add your prescription to the lens of these glasses, which aids in reducing both kinds of eye strain.

What to Look For In a Good Pair of Computer Glasses?

The features that matter while looking for the best kind of glasses to wear while working with PC or other gadgets for yourself are:

  1. Budget: Like everything else, you will find extremely low quality and cheap material for these as well. They range from $5 to $200 but the question here is what really the difference is? For ideal protection, is it necessary to invest in a high-end brand? Then the answer is no.
    Of course! you are not advised to invest in a low-quality copy but if you cannot afford a high-end pair of computer glasses, the mid-range quality will do and give you optimum protection as well. The main difference lies in the frame used and the extra layering is done on the lenses.
  2. Comfort: What good comes out of a thing if it is not comfortable? Since you will be needing the glasses for longer wearing periods you will need comfortable glasses. Make sure you check the frame for any sharp edges before you buy them especially in the temple and ear areas.
    Ideally, a good pair of computer glasses should have rubber temples and soft ear areas along with being lightweight so that they can be worn for a long time without any problems.
  3. Lens type: Lenses are something that will be carrying out the main work, so you should put great thought into As mentioned above, there is a different kind of lenses that can be accommodated in computer glasses. It is advised that you talk to your doctor before choosing a certain type of lens for yourself.
  4. Warranty: Surprisingly, most of the glasses on the market come with a warranty or a certain time period with money back guarantee. It will be very convenient for you if you invest in a company that gives warranty or money back guarantee so that if you don’t find the product very functional, you can return it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Computer Glasses Really Work?

Yes! They really do work. Where there are many conflicts and people say that these glasses don’t actually work, there are many individuals who have benefitted a lot from these glasses.

They have zero side effects and literally have zero drawbacks as far as your eyes are concerned. They not only filter out the harmful blue light but also have an anti-reflective coating that helps in better focusing.

The tests run on computer glasses show that the blue light is actually filtered out and all the harmful rays are stopped by the lens. It has helped many people regain their relaxed muscles as well as in getting rid of strained eyes and severe headaches due to unavoidable screen time.

 

Will My Reading Glasses Work On The Computer?

No! reading glasses and glasses for computer are not at all the same thing. Since paper does not emit any kind of blue light of UV light, reading glasses can offer no protection against the harmful rays emitted by the computer screen.

They are not advised to be used for computers as reading glasses are made to optimize the vision when the object is placed at a distance of 14 to 16 inches away, which comes under the near category.

As compared to this, the computer glasses are made for intermediate range, which is between 24 to 26 inches, due to this, the reading glasses will be of literally no use in front of the computer. For this, a different prescription eyeglass is required that optimize vision in the intermediate zone.

 

Do Every Type Of Computer Glasses Protect Your Eyes From a Blue Light?

Since these purpose-build glasses are specifically made to filter out all kinds of harmful rays especially the harmful high-frequency blue light.

For this, you can also do a small test. Take a blue light torch and direct it towards the lens of the glasses, if the light on the other side is white then these glasses are worth using, if not, they will not work.

Another thing you should remember is that not all glasses filter out the complete ray of blue light falling on them; rather a certain part is filtered out depending on the quality of the lens used. This depends on the price and the company as well.

For example, Gunnar is a renowned company that manufactures computed and gaming glasses. They have glasses that filter out only 10 percent of the blue light as well as glasses that filter out up to 99 percent of the blue light.

 

Do I Need To Have a Prescription to Buy Such Glasses?

If you need to buy computer glasses just to get rid of the eye strain caused by the harmful rays then you don’t need to get a prescription but if you want vision fixing along with the protection provided then prescription might be necessary.

Before going to the doctor, with a measuring tape find out the distance at which you usually put your computer screen. After that ask for doctors’ help so that you can decide the kind of lens you should invest in.

Since computer screens are placed in an intermediate zone, normal prescription glasses cannot be used with them rather you need glasses that are specifically made for optimizing the vision in the intermediate zone. For this particular reason, you will need your doctors’ assistance and hence, you will be needing a prescription.

 

How to Make Calculations For the Prescription And Get the Right Pair?

To make calculations and find the right pair of computer glasses for yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Measure the distance from your eyes to the computer screen. This is a very important step as it will decide the power.
  2. Find the daily life prescription given to you by the doctor, which is also known as numbers for the sphere.
  3. To calculate your new prescription, if the distance of the screen is beyond 21 inches and before 35 inches, add 1 diopters to the prescription number and if the screen is further than 35 inches, add 1.5 diopters to your prescription number.
  4. If no glasses are needed for daily use, follow these steps by adding the required number to zero.
  5. Before buying the glasses, try them on and see if they are functioning properly for you.

 

Are They Only For Computer Or I Can Use Them Outside?

Computer glasses are specifically designed for use in front of the computer as they are made to optimize the intermediate zone of vision. Wearing these glasses outside is not advised due to the functionality of the glasses.

Since only the intermediate zone is enhanced, the near and further zones are neglected. If you wear computer glasses outside, you might benefit a little from the UV-A and UV-B protection given by these glasses but they might hinder your vision as they are not made for long distance. Wearing these glasses while driving is certainly not advised. If you really have to wear protection glasses, you can invest in good quality sunglasses that protects your eyes from harmful rays that come directly from the sun.

 

Will Wearing Computer Eyeglasses Make My Eyes Worse?

Computer eyeglasses have no drawbacks or side effects whatsoever; they only work towards the betterment of the eye. Years and years of research has been done on computer glasses and no evidence of any kind of risk or side effect has been found. Rather it has been seen that apart from preventing certain eye strain problems, these glasses also reverse the already present effects of eye strain.

Moreover, using computer glasses help in developing the focusing ability of the eyes and also improves the mental health of the user. Keeping these facts in mind and the results of the research, wearing these glasses in no way adversely affects the user’s eye.

 

Does Every Computer User Need Computer Glasses?

Yes! Every computer user is advised to use computer glasses. On average, a screen time greater than two hours per day starts affecting your eyes, your mind and your eye and neck muscles along with your posture badly. Like it or not, these effects are consistent and are part of regularly using your laptops, phones, and tablets. If not now, one day you will develop the symptoms of eye strain and computer vision syndrome which is why every computer user requires computer glasses.

These glasses will not only help you in protecting your eyes from the harmful rays but will also help in better visual quality. These glasses will also improve your focusing ability and concentration power. For every computer user, despite using computer glasses, it is also advised that you follow the 20:20:20 rule regularly so that the effect of the glasses is also enhanced.

 

If I Don't Have Symptoms Of CVA, Do I Still Need Computer Eyewear?

You would have heard “prevention is better than cure”, in the digital era that we live in, cutting down on screen time is next to impossible no matter how hard you try. Your work, your children’s studies, your leisure time everything requires screen time which is why even though you don’t have any symptoms of computer vision syndrome yet, you might develop them in the future.

Once the symptoms start showing, they are not irreversible but they do take time to fix, during this time you will have to face headaches, burning eyes, dryness in eyes, sore eye muscles, sore neck and shoulder muscles etc. To prevent this kind of inconvenience, as a precaution it is advised that you regularly use computer glasses and also make your children use them whenever they sit in front of the screen.

 

Will Insurance Pay For The Computer Glasses?

Medical insurance and vision insurance are two different things. If you have medical insurance then the visual tests, doctor visits or other tests will be paid by the insurance. However, the cost of the glasses that you get will not be paid as it is not covered by the insurance, in contrary if you have vision insurance, then all kinds of visual tests along with computer tests and computer glasses will be paid by the insurance.

Even if you don’t have insurance, the computer glasses available on the market are not very expensive and you will be easily able to afford them. A good quality pair of these that provide you with optimum protection against the harmful rays can be bought easily between $20 to $40, which is quite reasonable.

So, the fact that insurance does not cover your computer glasses cost should not affect your choice of buying one as a precaution.

 

Are Gaming Glasses Any Different From a Regular Computer Glasses?

The technology used in the lenses of both the glasses is same. Some companies make gaming glasses lenses a little wider and more tinted as gaming screens have better resolution hence more rays are produced but the overall technology is the same and there is no hard and fast rule that only gaming glasses can be used by gamers. These two can be used alternatively, the protection provided is the same.

The main difference is in the frame style, construction, and design. Gaming glasses are chunkier but lightweight and flexible for longer use. They have a dandy and chic design that goes with the gamer’s personalities. The lenses are heavier and wrap around the user’s face for better viewing and no visual hindrance.

As compared to this, the computer glasses have a traditional office or readers design with lightweight structure and delicate arms, the lenses are not very big. They mostly have an executive or geeky look.

Nowadays, computer glasses also come in wayfarers and vintage designs, which are specifically designed to encourage teenagers to use these glasses as they are more susceptible to eye strain.

Wrap Up

Computer glasses unknowingly have become a necessity for us, whether adults or kids, all are in sheer need of this little invention that can prevent hours and days of inconvenience and health problems. Parents usually pass the opportunity to get their children computer glasses solely because they think there is no need of that when children, with their delicate and developing eyes, are the ones who need these kinds of protections the most.

We see small children with tablets and computer screens placed at a distance of no more than 20-inches from their eyes, which is extremely harmful. This can cause macular degeneration at a very small age.

Computer glasses don’t cost you a fortune, you can easily buy mid-range priced which provides you and your family ample protection from the harmful rays that come from your computer and TV screens. Investing in good quality is highly recommended.

Man is Working With Computer Glasses

In this article, we have explained all that you need to know about computer glasses and buying the correct ones for yourself. Putting thought and considering the features before deciding to buy the perfect pair of glasses for yourself is extremely important as well.

Moreover, if you normally wear prescription glasses then adding the prescription to your computer glasses is very necessary or else, you will have to start dealing with normal eye strain in the process of elimination computer eye strain. You can look into the market and you will find a wide range of these distinctive glasses, as there is a wide variety of frames and lenses available to choose one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cole Palmer

Cole Palmer

Cole’s passion is travelling around the world. His favourite destinations are South Asia and Western Europe. Cole spends lots of time sailing and knows how important is to have a good gear while you are in the middle of the ocean. Another thing that he is passionate about is astronomy, he says that the best place to look at the sky at night is usually far from the coast.