When you work at a computer for any length of time, it's common to experience eyestrain, blurred vision and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS). Viewing computer-generated print and images on a screen or monitor for prolonged periods is harder on the eyes than viewing a similar amount of material on the printed pages of a book or magazine. If your eyes feel strained after prolonged computer use you should schedule a comprehensive eye exam to determine the cause. If you're under age 40, blurred vision during computer use may be due to your eyes being unable to remain accurately focused on your screen for sustained periods. Or you may have a hard time quickly and accurately changing focus, such as when you shift your gaze from your monitor to your keyboard and back again. This problem, called lag of accommodation, can cause eyestrain and headaches — two common symptoms of CVS.
If you're over age 40, the onset of presbyopia — the normal age-related loss of near focusing ability — can make focusing on a computer screen even more difficult, further increasing the risk of eyestrain, headaches and eye fatigue.
Customized computer glasses can make a world of difference. These special-purpose glasses are prescribed specifically to reduce eyestrain and give you the most comfortable vision at your computer. Eyeglasses prescribed for general-purpose wearing are often not well-suited for prolonged computer work.
When working at a computer, your eyes are generally 20 to 26 inches from your computer screen. This distance is considered the intermediate zone of vision — closer than driving (distance) vision, but farther away than reading (near) vision.
Without the appropriate eyewear, computer users can often end up with blurred vision, eyestrain, and headaches — the hallmark symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS). Worse still, many people try to compensate for their blurred vision by leaning forward, or by tipping their head to look through the bottom portion of their glasses. These unnatural postures can lead to headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and backaches.
There are a number of special purpose lens designs that work well for computer glasses. Because these lenses are prescribed specifically for computer use, they are unsuitable for driving or general-purpose wear.
The simplest computer glasses have single vision lenses with a modified lens power prescribed to give the most comfortable vision at the user's computer screen. These lenses reduce the amount of focusing the eyes have to do to keep images on the computer screen clear and provide the largest field of view, reducing the need for head tilting and other unnatural posture changes during computer work.
For older computer users, a specially designed occupational progressive lens for computer use is sometimes a better option. Progressive lenses for computer use have a larger intermediate zone than regular progressive lenses for a wider, more comfortable view of the computer screen.
Another option for presbyopic computer users is an occupational lined bifocal or trifocal, with larger intermediate and near zones than regular designs. Your eye doctor can help you decide which lens design will best suit your needs.
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