What Are Computer Glasses?

Ways to Solve Eye Strain

Computer glasses are prescription glasses that are designed to wear when doing computer work. They allow you to focus your eyes on a computer screen, which is farther away than reading material is normally held. There are other activities such as for example playing piano (piano glasses) or shooting (shooting glasses) that also require a similar custom fitting. These specialty glasses are called \"task-specific\" and are designed to meet the visual needs of the activity.

General purpose bifocals are not designed for computer work. They force the wearer to tilt the head back in order to focus on the screen while looking through the lower segment of the bifocal lenses. Such a forced position can cause neck and shoulder pain and it can also cause arm and low back pain.

Depending on the individual\'s vision and type of work, there are several options while selecting computer-specific lenses for your needs, such as:

Monofocal – Single Vision

Monofocal or single-vision glasses can provide the appropriate optical correction for the working distance between the screen and the computer user\'s eyes. This accommodation in the lens prescription allows users to view the whole screen with a minimum up-and-down head movement. The disadvantage of this option is that both distant objects and reading materials that are closer than the computer screen will appear blurry.


Bifocal glasses can be prescribed so that the upper segment is set up for the screen distance and a lower segment for work that is closer than the screen (\"reading distance\").

The disadvantage of this option is that objects farther away than the screen are blurry. Bifocal lenses also distort images of objects in the peripheral zone of vision. Segmented lenses like bifocals and those mentioned below have a smaller area for viewing the screen. This means more up-and-down head movement is required to view all parts of the screen.


Trifocal glasses have lenses that combine a segment for far vision (upper), another for near vision (lower/bottom) and a third one for vision at the screen distance (middle, between the far and near segments). The disadvantage of using trifocal lenses is a limited continuity of vision correction. Distortion in peripheral vision is more pronounced than in using bifocals.

Progressive Addition Lenses (PAL)

Progressive lenses (Progressive Addition Lenses - PAL) offer better continuity of vision by eliminating lines between segments of different focal power. Wearers of PAL also report less distortion of peripheral vision than those wearing conventional multifocal glasses. In order to make Progressive lenses appropriate for fixed distance work and task situations there is usually compromises made that widen focal corridors for the specific task to help eliminate the need to bend or tip one’s head to focus on computers or equipment.  When these accommodations are made it takes away from lens areas used for near and distant vision correction but these are usually acceptable exchanges to solve the task specific correction needs for the wearer.

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Midwest Optical Associates, Inc.
8114 Paul Manors Drive, Suite 500
West Chester, OH, 45069-0219
Phone: (888) 989-3931
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