Visual Ergonomics – Maximizing Visual Comfort in the Workplace
The older we get and/or the more time we spend at the computer the more helpful it is to use computer glasses to avoid eye strain. Maximizing the visual ergonomics of your work environment will also reduce eye strain. Generally, from a visual standpoint, laptops, placed on a desk, are set up rather well to minimize eye strain and promote maximum visual comfort. Laptops have us looking down, allowing a user wearing bifocal or progressive lenses to see the screen through the near portion of their glasses. Because the laptop screen is directly in front of the keyboard it is closer to you. This distance tends to be about the same as normal reading distance; therefore, regular bifocal glasses or progressive lenses will likely work.
A desktop monitor is another matter. Placement of the monitor is very important. The new LCD monitors make it much easier to place them in a position allowing for easy, comfortable viewing. The monitor should be placed in a position that is typically 20 inches or more away and positioned low enough that when you are looking straight ahead you are looking over the top of the monitor. This last point is especially important for bifocal wearers, more importantly, for those 50 or older that rely on the intermediate portion of their progressive or trifocal lenses.
Computer Glasses – the Most Effective Solution
Regardless of whether your computer workstation involves a desktop monitor or a laptop computer glasses offer better visual ergonomics. Progressive computer glasses have a wide near and intermediate areas giving you an unrestricted view of your desk and computer. Generally, there are two types of computer glasses, office glasses and desktop glasses.
Office Computer Glasses
This type of computer glasses will let you see your reading material and computer perfectly. Office glasses also give you good vision while you walk around the office. You can wear them to meetings and work at your desk without taking them off. However, you will find that driving distance is blurry.
Desktop Computer Glasses
The visual ergonomics of desktop computer glasses are optimized for reading and computer distance. They have a taller computer zone than the office computer glasses. Desktop computer glasses are best suited to those that spend extended periods of time working at the computer and do not need to get up and move about the office.
Why is Monitor Height Important?
If the monitor is too high you have to tilt your chin up to focus using the intermediate portion of your progressive lens. If you are only using the computer for a few minutes this may be tolerable; however, if you sit at the computer for an extended period moving your chin up like this spells a neck ache. If you don’t tilt your chin up to use your bifocal to focus the monitor you are looking through the top part of your glasses instead of the intermediate zone and thus straining your eyes. Neither option is acceptable for any reasonable length of time.
How Should We Set Up Our Workstation?
First, if your monitor is sitting on top of the CPU, place the CPU under the desk and the monitor directly on the desk. Having a chair with an adjustable seat will allow you to raise your seat thus further improving your position.
Second, never place your monitor where there is a bright light behind it such as in front of a window. Also having a window directly behind you may cause bothersome reflections unless you have an anti-reflective screen on your monitor.
Third, place the monitor 20 to 30 inches from you. If neither of these options is sufficient or simply not possible computer glasses are an option. Progressive or bifocal computer glasses are generally not necessary for those under 50. However, anyone over 50 spending more than a couple hours a day at the computer will benefit from computer glasses. Most patients simply leave their computer glasses at their desk. Computer glasses are progressive lenses prescribed so that the top part is set to focus at computer distance. Computer distance is roughly arms length. The bottom part of the lens will focus at near, usually 16-18 inches. An anti-reflective coating will eliminate reflections and as a result, make for better visual comfort.
Lastly, a good, adjustable chair with some kind of footstool is great.
Enhancing Your Visual Ergonomics with Computer Glasses
The eye doctors and opticians at Total Eye Care are experts in helping patients improve their visual ergonomics. Reducing computer-related eye strain is essential to improve your productivity. Total Eye Care is committed to finding the best solution for your situation. We can employ any combination of vision correction including computer glasses, contact lenses, and conventional glasses. We will find the right answer for you.