YOUR EYES IN AN ONLINE WORLD
“We’re still in the first minutes of the first day of the Internet revolution.”
– Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit, director of eBay and Procter & Gamble.
“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” – Bill Gates
The Huffington Post reports that more leisure time is now spent on digital devices than watching television. According to CNBC, the US population spends over 230,000 years in one month on social media. The New York Times states that the average person spends 8 hours a day staring at some sort of screen (and this was in 2009).
There is no doubt that the change the internet has ushered into our daily lives also affects our eyes and vision. Whether preparing a quarterly report at work, checking out the latest status on Facebook, or following GPS directions, our eyes are working harder than they ever have.
WHAT ARE COMPUTER GLASSES? One tool in the arsenal to make our vision more effective and more comfortable is computer. They are a specifically designed pair of glasses with lenses made to focus at the distance of a computer. Options include different tints and coatings such as anti-reflective to help with eye strain and glare. Some eye doctors recommend a tint to block the short wave-length “blue light” emitted from any screened device.
There are a variety of special purpose lenses that can be prescribed for computer use. Some examples are:
- Single vision lenses. These are the simplest type of computer lenses. They are basically designed for the hours we spend staring at a computer monitor. However, distant objects and objects that are closer than the screen will appear blurry.
- Computer progressive lenses. Although they are not recommended for driving or general purpose vision, the top part of the lens has a small area to correct distance, the middle area to correct intermediate, and the bottom for close vision. If you want one pair of glasses without switching while online, these are useful for such situations as:-you are sitting at your desk and want to see the clock across the room or what small object your toddler is holding
-you are doing your tax form online but need to refer to the written instruction sheet in hand.
-you want to glance at the text you just received on your phone while checking Facebook on your laptop.
- Occupational lenses.These lenses can be prescribed to best serve your vision needs for your jobs with progressive lenses targeting zones of focus. Examples of occupations that require varying fields of focus are
-electricians, plumbers, lecturers or presenters, hairdressers, physicians, cashiers, mechanics, dentists
- Young adults who are frequent users of digital devices are sometimes prescribed progressive lenses with a limited amount of added magnification for intermediate and near vision. This age group is too young to need reading glasses/bifocals but often experience eye strain from screens.
- A range of specially coated lenses are available for your computer glasses….including anti reflective lenses and tints to block the “blue light” glare emitted from any screened device. Just as our eyes need protection from UV light in sunlight, recent studies suggest that the blue end of the light spectrum may contribute to retinal damage and lead to Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Also, further evidence points to disruptions in melatonin production and sleep disturbances when electronics are used before bedtime because of the blue light.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SCREEN-RELATED EYE STRAIN
- -blurred vision
- -redness in eyes
- -dry eyes
- -back or neck strain
- -double vision
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
- Adjust the monitor position- Your monitor should be 20-30 inches away from your eyes. The top of your monitor should be at eye level. I use a computer lap desk that raises my notebook to a comfortable slant on a table or desk.
- Play with the room lighting….too much artificial or natural light can create monitor glare. Try desk or floor lamps for indirect lighting.
- 20-20-20 Rule- Every 20 minutes focus at an object 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
- Arrange your desk area- Put your monitor right in front of you and any reading material next to it using a copyholder.
- Ask your eye doctor about computer glasses and how they can benefit you.
“My eyes are blurry and they get kind of red after I work on the computer, and I don’t know how to fix it.” – Mario Hernandez, contemporary fashion designer
For many of us computer glasses can make a difference between relaxed eyes or aggravation and discomfort while gazing at all the different screens we use in our daily lives. Computer glasses are an option that can make our lives a little bit more comfortable.
Resist the temptation to buy over the counter glasses for computer use. I would encourage you to go to an eye doctor for the specialized care needed to provide maximum comfort and benefits.
Our office offers these services and products. We are happy to answer any questions and help you to make your online experience more visually satisfactory and enjoyable.