Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why Do Patients Need Computer Glasses?

I am constantly asked about computer vision problems at the office. This is due, of course, to the amount of time that we all spend looking at a computer screen. There are lots of issues that patients have when looking at a computer screen. The many issues relate primarily to dryness, eye muscle problems, and focusing problems. If a patient has dry eyes to begin with, the problem increases when looking at a computer screen due to the fact that there is a significant decrease in the blink rate when lookng at the screen. I have discussed dry eyes in a previous entry in my blog. Please review that entry for some tips to help with dry eyes. Eye muscle problems can also make it difficult to look at a computer screen for an extended period of time, as this requires that both eyes be pointing at a fixed distance...arm's length for example....for an extended period of time. If the eyes cannot point with comfort at this distance they become tired and this can contribute to headaches and blurred vision and can have a negative effect upon work place performance. Eye exercises can be prescribed for patients that have this problem. There are certain instances where special lens treatments, called prisms, can help as well. These treatments can be incorporated into computer glasses as needed. Finally, there is all the issues associated with focusing problems. Most of these issues relate to the difficulty that patients have with near point focusing associated with the aging process. All of us eventually need help focusing our eyes for near. Regular bifocals don't work well for the computer screen unless we are working on lap tops. With lap tops we look down to see. Here a normal bifocal can often work. With desk top screens a regular bifocal is not the best solution because the patient will have to lift up their chin to look out of the bottom portion of the lens where the bifocal part is. In addition, the bifocal portion is normally set in closer..say about 16 inches.. for normal text viewing. The average computer screen is set out farther at about 26 inches. To view the screen with a regular bifocal, the patient would have to both lift up their chin and lean in to see the screen. This creates both eyestrain and neck strain. To avoid this problem, we can either make reading glasses that focus farther out at the 26 inch distance or design a custom bifocal that provides clear viewing through the top part at about 26 inches and then make the bottom more magnified for text viewing. There is a new computer bifocal available now that also allows the patient to be able to get some distance viewing out of the top part of the lenses when necessary.

All of these products discussed above function better when they are treated with a glare free coating. The only way to properly design the necessary type of computer lenses that are best for each individual patient is for the patient to have a comprehensive eye examination along with a detailed history that allows the doctor to discover exactly how the patient functions in their work and at home computer environments.

If the reader has any additional questions or comments about computer eyeglasses please contact me at jon@villageeyes.com.

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