Where to Buy Computer Glasses and Should I See an Eyedoctor

While computer glasses can be purchased at an office supply store, eye doctors recommend that anyone using a computer have an initial eye exam before starting to use their computer.

Because computer vision syndrome (CVS) can cause changes in your vision, this exam will establish a baseline against which you can compare any vision changes.

Computer glasses for people who don’t need corrective lenses

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If you are between the ages of 18 and 40 and don’t need corrective lenses, you might find the store-bought computer eyeglasses sufficient. However, an eye exam by a computer eye specialist will reveal any underlying eye disease or undetected vision error that can make a big difference in whether you are affected by CVS.

Even a refractive error as small as 0.5 diopter can have a huge impact on productivity and accuracy, but not be noticed by someone who’s become accustomed to a small imposition on their vision.

Computer eyeglasses for people who need corrective lenses

Even standard corrective lenses are not good substitutes for computer eyeglasses. The key to good computer glasses is their ability to help you focus in the intermediate zone of 20” to 28” from your eyes.

  • Bifocals have a near and distance area, and no intermediate zone for clear vision at computer screen distances.
  • Progressives have a narrow zone of transition between the distance and near vision. This “intermediate” vision zone is too small in standard corrective lenses for good computer vision.
  • Computer glasses have a larger intermediate vision zone.
  • Features available for standard corrective lenses are available for computer eyeglasses. Those most beneficial for computer use include an anti-reflective coating and tints. Anti-reflective coatings reduce the reflections on both the inner and outer sides of the lenses.

    Various tints can help provide clearer vision and balance the effects of ambient lighting. For example, ultraviolet lights emit more blue light that increases computer eyestrain. An amber tint can counteract the effects of blue light.

    Because corrective lenses are ordered by prescription based on your eye exam, you have to get, at least, the prescription from your doctor. This we all know. Likewise, you need a prescription for your computer glasses.

    You can, however, order your glasses from any lab. That means the commercial ones or your doctor’s affiliate lab. When the lab knows that your glasses are going to be used for computer work, they will make the intermediate zone an appropriate size.

    One word of caution–the lab is likely to borrow real estate from the distance vision portion of your lenses to expand your intermediate zone.

    This will leave you enough room to look up and across the room, or to walk around, but may not be sufficient for driving. If you need corrective lenses, it might be better to have two pair of glasses to ensure you have one pair safe for driving.

    Alternatives for people who need corrective lenses

    For people whose corrective prescription is for either near, or distance, you can get clip-on computer lenses. These are available at various stores or from your eye doctor. You can get the intermediate zone correction you need by trying different strength clip-ons and testing your ability to read different size text from a distance range of 20” to 28” right in the store.


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