Category Archives: Computer Vision

Computer Glasses – What Are They, How Will They Help, Are They Worth it?

Computer glasses are an under used component of a comfortable office environment. As a person approaches their 50’s it becomes more difficult to see things not only at near but at an intermediate range as well. Normal progressive lenses let you see objects clearly at this distance but only by lifting your head up to look through the intermediate portion of the glasses. Using regular glasses while working at the computer leads to neck pain, back pain and eye strain. This is where computer glasses come in.

Progressive lenses allow a person over 40 to view objects clearly at all distances, even computer distance. Progressive lenses let us view intermediate objects by looking half way down the lens. With computer glasses; however, you can view an intermediate object by looking straight ahead (most computer monitors are at eye level), and the bottom of the computer lens lets you focus an object at normal reading distance. Computer glasses allow for a natural eye position so you can comfortably view your computer.

If your computer monitor is at eye level, you are in your late forties or older, and spend more than 30 minutes at the computer a day then computer glasses are definitely a worthwhile investment.

Computer glasses are an important part of making your workstation a comfortable place to work. See this article on visual ergonomics for more information on setting up your workstation.

FDA Approves First Bionic Eye

The FDA approved Second Sight’s “bionic” eye. While actually more of a retinal prosthesis, the implant is designed to assist patients with retinitis pigmentosa. The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System has a resolution of 60 pixels. The device will not provide the HD type of vision that our eyes are capable of; however, more importantly, this technology will greatly aid a blind patient’s mobility and is a revolutionary step forward.

The system consists of a wireless retinal implant that rests on the retina. The patient will wear special glasses that see the image. The image will be sent to a visual processing unit that is worn on the patient’s hip. Once the data is processed it is sent back to the glasses which wirelessly transmit this data to the retinal implant. The implant electrically stimulates the photoreceptors simulating a coarse image. The patient learns how to interpret these light and dark images allowing them to navigate around and among obstacles.

The device was approved for use in Europe last year. Check out the video below from the European branch of the medical device company.

Dr. Meghna Lilaram Joins Total Eye Care

Computer Vision Syndrome Highlighted in The Wall Street Journal

As our population ages and we all spend more time staring at computers, cell phones and the like, computer vision syndrome becomes more of a problem.  In today’s lifestyle section of The Wall Street Journal there is a good article on computer vision syndrome entitled Becoming a Squinter Nation.  We have covered CVS on The Eye Doc Blog as well. A complete list of all of our Computer Vision articles is available via the computer vision tag.

Setting up your computer workstation to minimize the effects of computer vision syndrome is very helpful. For more information for tips on how to do this see our article on Visual Ergonomics – Setting up Your computer Workstation for Maximum Visual Comfort at TotalEyeCare.com.

Revisiting Visual Ergonomics

As I sit here this morning sipping my morning mocha and looking for a place to get a little admin work done before I see patients I thought it would be great to look out the window and do a little people watching while I get some work done….. wrong.  What was I thinking?

It sounded great at first, sitting here with good coffee and chocolate carefully blended together while I view a beautiful Texas morning out the window.  Have you ever tried looking at a computer monitor with a bright sunny background in the back?  I’ll save you the trouble don’t.  Your eyes will be killing you before you get your computer connected to the coffee shop’s WIFI.  The appeal of it all sounded great, however had I remembered an article I wrote a while back about visual ergonomics I would have thought better about my seat location.  What can I say the Texas sunshine was calling to me.

Visual Ergonomics is the study of setting up your environment for maximum visual comfort and productivity.

Computer Glasses Help Reduce Eyestrain & Neck Pain

Computer glasses can not only help reduce eyestrain but they also reduce neck pain at your desk.  Numerous factors need to be addressed to maximize your comfort and effectiveness while working at the computer.  Computer related eyestrain is especially common for those approaching their 50s and above.

When working at our computer we often find ourselves raising our chin to make the monitor clear.  This puts our neck in a very bad, uncomfortable position.  Everyone that experiences neck pain should see their eye doctor about computer glasses. A few minutes to read a quick email is not a problem, however the longer you spend in this position the worse it is for your eyes, your posture and your neck.  Computer glasses place your monitor in the proper focus allowing you to look directly at the monitor while still allowing you to view reading material at a normal reading distance.

Another important consideration while working at the computer is your blinking.  When we work at the computer we become so engrossed in what we are doing that our blink rate goes down which increases the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.  The video below gives a good summary of computer vision syndrome and computer glasses.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGgCFDRV_YQ]

Q: Is Computer Use Bad For My Eyes?

A: No, using computers or any kind of near work will not cause your eyes to go bad. What computer use will do, however, is make any uncorrected visual problems become more apparent. When we work at a computer we typically don’t change our point of gaze for possibly hours.  Before computers were such an integral part of the office workplace we would experience intermittent visual breaks in our focus that gave our eyes a break by turning the page, going to the file cabinet or grabbing another document, etc. With computers everything we need is on the screen. When we finish one task the next is available on the computer. Our gaze rarely strays from the monitor. Even when we take a mental break, we still take that break looking at our monitor checking personal email, youtube etc.

How do we prevent visual strain at the computer? The first is to set up your workstation for enhanced visual ergonomics Take occasional breaks from looking at the monitor, once an hour is recommended. If it has been over a year since your last eye exam often a change in glasses is all that is needed.

Visual Ergonomics – Setting Up Your Computer Workstation For Maximum Visual Comfort

The older we get and/or the more time we spend at the computer the more important it is to set up your work environment for the maximum visual comfort. Generally, from a visual standpoint, laptops, placed on a desk, are set up rather well for the maximum visual comfort. They have us looking down allowing a user that wears bifocals to see the screen through their bifocal and because the screen is directly in front of the keyboard it is close
enough the bifocal, whether it is a progressive lens or a flat top lens, the distance is correct.

A desktop is another matter. Placement of the monitor is very important. The new LCD monitors make it much easier to place them in a positions 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, especially those 50 or older that rely on the intermediate portion of their progressive or trifocal lenses.

Why is monitor height important? If the monitor is too high you have to tilt your chin up to focus with the intermediate portion of your progressive lens. If you are only at 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 though 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.

So 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 antireflective 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 that spends more than a couple hours a day at the computer will benefit from computer glasses. Most patients simply leave their glasses at the computer. Computer glasses are progressive lenses prescribed so that the top part is set to focus at computer distance, roughly arms length, and the bottom will focus at near, usually 16-18 inches. An antireflective coating will eliminate reflections and also make for better visual comfort.

Lastly, a good, adjustable chair with a foot stool is a great idea.

 

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