Are workspace glasses supposed to be this uncomfortable?
June 11, 2019 4:11 PM   Subscribe

I just got what my OD referred to as "workspace glasses," which I'm supposed to wear while working at a computer to cancel out the contacts I wear for nearsightedness. But in my first couple hours of wearing them, they make me feel like I'm straining my eyes more. Is this normal adjustment?

I was getting a lot of eye strain and periodic moments of blurriness when I worked on a computer for too long. My OD said my vision is overcorrecting at near distances and suggested I either take my contacts out whenever I'm at my computer, wear glasses whenever I'm not at a computer, or get workspace glasses. I chose the workspace glasses. They came in the mail today and all I want to do is take them off. I feel like I'm squinting and keep finding myself leaning in closer to the screen.

I should add, I dislike my OD, I haven't been able to get in elsewhere, and I can't see her again for another month or so. So I get that this is a YANMD question, but I'd rather get a sense of whether this is normal before pushing to see her.
posted by quiet coyote to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What is the prescription of the workspace glasses?

They were prescribed assuming you sit a certain distance from the screen. Ideally you would have measured the actual distance from eyeballs to screen and given that number to the OD, but if you didn't, she guessed. If you normally sit farther than the assumed distance, yep, it'll be fuzzy until you get closer.
posted by fritley at 4:38 PM on June 11, 2019

I've never done workspace glasses (glasses-on-contacts?), but whenever I've gotten new frames it takes a day or so to get used to them. Frame/lens size is probably the culprit. But that's more of a non-specific dizziness/vision tilt and it doesn't sound like that's what you're describing, right? If it's just blurry and gets better when you sit closer, it's probably just been measured for the wrong distance. (on preview, what fritley said.)

Another possible issue would be pupillary distance, which changes slightly depending on where you're looking -- looking very close brings your eyes together and also shrinks your pupils slightly -- but assuming it was correctly measured, I wouldn't expect that to be an issue unless you are doing VERY close work.
posted by basalganglia at 4:42 PM on June 11, 2019

What I meant was: ideally she would have asked you to provide this information that was required for her to do a good job, instead of guessing. I'm not blaming you for not knowing or not reading her mind!
posted by fritley at 4:45 PM on June 11, 2019

It's not so much that it's blurry, it's that my eyes feel like they ache and strain when I wear them. She told me to sit far enough away from my screen that I can place my palms flat on the screen, and that's what I've been doing.

They're +1.25 in both eyes. Hardly anything. My contacts are -1.5 in both eyes, IIRC.
posted by quiet coyote at 5:46 PM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

That means they will let you focus at 1/1.25 meters (80cm, 31 inches) or closer. Those are the same as common drug store readers.

Unless you have arms much longer than me (NOT likely) that prescription should be fine, and you should feel your eyes sort of relax when you put them on. It shouldn't feel like more work! Perhaps they are made wrong and you ought to have them double-checked. Or just try on some +1.25 readers at the drug store and read some things at palm distance.

When you hold these glasses away from your face a bit and look through them at the far wall, they do make things bigger, not smaller, right? (I'm wondering if they might have accidentally made them according to your -1.5 Rx)
posted by fritley at 6:44 PM on June 11, 2019

Just a quick thought: you can get readers for $5 at a dollar store (yeah, I know), and they come in a wide variety of strengths, from 0.5 to 2.5. You could get several and try them to see if they work better. Sometimes they actually make a mistake in the prescription.

Also, take them back to the optician and ask them to check the prescription. As a note, my 1.5 readers held a few feet away will actually magnify stuff a visible amount.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 7:38 PM on June 11, 2019

I got workspace glasses a few months ago. After I was examined, he had me confirm the screen distance more than once. It did take me a few days to get used to having these weaker glasses. I don't know what needed to happen... maybe my eyes just needed to adjust to them. Now I'm happy with them and don't experience the discomfort or fatigue that I did before. So maybe you just need to give it a little more time.
posted by heatvision at 3:35 AM on June 12, 2019

Yes, holding them a few feet away magnifies things.
posted by quiet coyote at 8:09 AM on June 12, 2019

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