Have your eyes ever felt tired, sore, or irritated after a long day on your computer? Friends may recommend you try computer or blue light glasses, but how do you know if they’re worth it? Before you talk to your optometrist about their eyewear selection, learn more about computer glasses and blue light glasses and how they work.
What are Computer & Blue Light Glasses?
Many people spend multiple hours in front of their computers, smartphones, and other screens each day. Prolonged screen use is a cause of computer vision syndrome (digital eye strain) and can cause significant irritation to your eyes. The term “computer glasses” is used in a general way to describe lens technology which helps alleviate eye fatigue when using screens.
There are several varieties of computer glasses and each focuses on providing comfort differently. Different types of computer glasses include:
- Anti-glare coating
- Blue light filters
- Computer progressive lenses
Understanding how each type of glasses works to protect your eyes can help you decide if computer glasses are worth getting.
Types of Computer Glasses
Computer glasses are designed to help you work on your devices without having to worry about headaches and sore eyes.
Anti-glare (or anti-reflective) technology focuses on reducing glare reflecting off of your monitor, phone, and lenses. Glare can bother your eyes and force you to focus more on what you’re reading. Do this for multiple hours and you may be feeling the symptoms of digital eye strain.
Anti-glare coatings are used to reduce incoming light hitting your lenses. Reflecting this glare allows more light to enter the lens and optimize your vision. This coating is applied to the front and back of the lens.
Anti-glare coating is especially helpful for computer work. Your screen reflects artificial light from the lamps in your room and sunlight from outside. Light from the screen reflects in your lenses as well.
Investing in an anti-reflective coating on your glasses removes glare and allows you to work more comfortably. It can be added as screen filters for your devices as well.
Blue light emits from devices such as smartphones, computer monitors, televisions, and LED lights. We usually experience blue light at close distances when we use the computer or watch videos on our phones. Many see this as a leading cause of digital eye strain, and symptoms can be mitigated by reducing the amount of blue light we’re exposed to.
This is the idea of blue light glasses. They reduce the amount of blue light hitting your eyes to prevent discomfort. This is a good concept, but some believe blue light doesn’t contribute to digital eye strain.
Blue light filters do reduce blue light exposure and many people claim they can help prevent strain and fatigue on your eyes.
Computer Progressive Lenses
Progressive lenses are usually recommended for people affected by presbyopia. Progressive lenses are a type of multifocal lens combining multiple prescriptions in one pair of eyeglasses. They differ from bifocals and trifocals because of the gradual transition between prescriptions.
With standard progressive lenses, you may be switching between your prescriptions when viewing your screen. This can affect your ability to focus because your eyes are constantly adjusting. Computer progressives solve this problem by optimizing your vision to see clearly from computer-distance.
Computer progressive lenses are a useful way to reduce eye fatigue from constant refocusing.
Are Computer Glasses Worth It?
It’s clear there are benefits to computer glasses but are they worth it?
Computer glasses won’t entirely prevent digital eye strain but they can help reduce your symptoms. While blue light filters do block it from reaching your eyes, there is no concrete evidence blue light harms your eyes. Some professionals recommend them despite this.
Both anti-glare coating and computer progressive lenses can be effective ways to reduce symptoms of digital eye strain. Your optometrist will recommend the best solutions for your concerns.
Computer glasses are only a small part of digital eye strain prevention. Habit and ergonomic changes to your lifestyle are typically recommended as well.
Tips to Prevent Digital Eye Strain
Changes to your computer habits can help reduce the risk of digital eye strain. Before you rush to buy yourself computer glasses, consider implementing some of the following tips.
The 20/20/20 rule is a simple way to give your eyes a break during work. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to stare at something at least 20 feet away. This method can be applied with other techniques to treat your vision with care. Some of these methods include:
- Adjusting your posture to sit straight
- Keeping your workspace lit at moderate levels (not too bright or dark)
- Increasing font size when possible
- Increasing the contrast on your screen
- Sitting further away from your screen (at least an arm’s length)
These tips can help protect your eyes, but any persistent symptoms should be assessed by your optometrist.
Your Optometrist Knows Best
Computer glasses can be a great way to reduce your risk of eye strain, but your optometrist knows what is best for your eyes. Before you spend the money on new glasses, book an appointment with your eye doctor.