Computer glasses?
April 23, 2011 9:02 PM   Subscribe

Do computer glasses work? Where can I find a company that will fit a pair of frames with eyestrain lenses?

I often have to use computers for extended amounts of times and it gives me some pretty bad headaches and nausea. I've installed Flux which has helped quite a bit, but I often still get them, and sometimes I have to work on computers where I don't have admin privileges to install software. A friend told me computer monitor/eyestrain glasses might help, do they really make any difference? He told me to look into Gunnars, but I don't really like how they look. I was thinking of picking up a pair of frames that I liked elsewhere, and then having computer monitor/eyestrain lenses installed, are there any companies that do this?
posted by god particle to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You should go to an optometrist. You're better off getting glasses which are tuned to your specific vision.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:43 PM on April 23, 2011

I'm not an optometrist nor even an optician, so this is only a layman's response. If you are in a bi-focal or progressive prescription, Zenni Optical will make such glasses - scroll down to the paragraph titled "Multi-focal Computer/Desktop glasses" for instructions on how to modify your standard prescription for such glasses. If you aren't already in a bi-focal/progressive prescription, perhaps you could be helped with simple, low power reading glasses, in powers of +1.00, +1.25, +1.50 or even +2.00 diopters.
posted by paulsc at 9:44 PM on April 23, 2011

What are "computer monitor/eyestrain lenses"? If they're simply lenses that correct vision deficiencies, like reading glasses or lenses that correct astigmatism, then a trip to the optometrist will get you a prescription which can be filled many places, online and in the high street.

I need prescription lenses all the time for myopia, but I also have a pair of glasses for which the lens prescription was adjusted (by my optometrist) for reading my computer monitor. My computer specs are very useful when I'm working on the screen for long periods (but I'm not sure if this is answering your question.)
posted by anadem at 9:45 PM on April 23, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks,
I'll try to see an optometrist. I was told that there are just general-purpose eyestrain glasses that are supposed to make extended periods of computer use easier on the eyes, but maybe it's worth getting my eyes checked anyways.
posted by god particle at 9:55 PM on April 23, 2011

Do you currently wear prescription glasses? If so, you can ask your optometrist to write out a computer Rx for you. For most people, a computer Rx is a "mid-distance" correction. If you're near-sighted (that is, if you already need glasses for distance vision), your computer Rx is typically a "split the difference" calculation between your distance Rx and your reading Rx. However, it also depends on how close you sit to your computer screen. It's worth it to get an accurate Rx from your optometrist. You can always buy the glasses from someplace more affordable, but don't skimp on getting an accurate Rx to start with or you'll be risking even more eyestrain.
posted by amyms at 9:55 PM on April 23, 2011

I was told that there are just general-purpose eyestrain glasses that are supposed to make extended periods of computer use easier on the eyes

If you don't need an Rx (that is, if it turns out that your mid-distance vision is already 20/20) you can get a pair of non-prescription glasses with an anti-glare coating to help reduce computer-related eyestrain. But definitely get your vision checked first, because an accurate Rx (if you need one) will make a world of difference.
posted by amyms at 10:00 PM on April 23, 2011

If you don't currently wear glasses, it's still worth it to get your eyes checked out thoroughly. People's eyes change over the course of their lives more than they think they do - it's quite possible that you've grown used to blurrier vision so slowly that you haven't noticed, and it's contributing to your problem. It's also just important to make sure that your eyes are healthy, like any other part of your body. Any optometrist worth your time will be able to determine a nice mid-distance correction for you and fit the lenses to the frame of your choice.
posted by Mizu at 11:59 PM on April 23, 2011

Here's the thing about staring at a screen all day (as explained to me by my ophthalmologist)...Even with modern flat screens, there are actually two levels your eyes are trying to focus on...There's the actual LCD layer, where the image is, and there's the glass layer just above it. Though there may be scant millimeters between the two, your brain and eyes see the two separate layers, and the eyes are continually, minutely bouncing focus between the two. This bouncing works to tire the eyes. Exacerbating this problem is glare on the upper glass layer and the fact that you're basically staring straight into a very bright light source.

The layer-focus issue was even worse in the days of big CRT displays, where the distance between layers was enormous. Reducing ambient light levels in your work area can help reduce glare levels, and that can help reduce some eyestrain. It won't eliminate it, though.

Taking eye-breaks every 20-30 minutes or so will go a long way to reduce the strain. Just look away from the screen and focus your vision on more distant objects for a few minutes.

As for glasses...I used to have a set of prescription glasses made to allow my eyes to focus better at the distance of my monitor. They worked wonders, but were a HUGE pain in the butt, since the glasses were worthless at any other distance, so I still had to carry my normal glasses with me and swap the two whenever I moved away from the screen.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:37 AM on April 24, 2011

The gunnars are just reading glasses with a yellow tint. People use similar lenses for playing sports and night driving. I would assume you could get your prescription lenses tinted in the frame of you choice from your optometrist.

I've found the effect of the lenses similar to flux, as you said, but if I had it to do over again, I would go with some generic yellow glasses and avoid the higher price of the gunnars.
posted by zabuni at 8:51 AM on April 24, 2011

FWIW: I have basically the same problems as you (long hours at the 'puter, concentrating, etc) and was getting the same sort of physical pains. I do not have a prescription, and I did get my eyes checked out, but they're still good in the real world. It's only in front of the computer that I have issues.

I *did* get a pair of Gunnars and they've made a huge difference. The kind of difference that I was not inclined to admit to my skeptical self. So I do wear them at work, and as I said: the difference is immediately noticeable.

The one caveat I'd give you is that yes: they are SUPER ugly. I might have done better with a different frame, but in general they are not good looking glasses. But they do what they say they do, so I just make sure I take them off before I get up and walk around the office (when I get to). Some people have seen them, and we've had a laugh, but for me the benefits outweigh, as they say.

Good luck!
posted by indiebass at 10:48 AM on April 25, 2011

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