For Your Computer and Everything Else
Digital Eye Strain / Computer Vision Syndrome + Reading Glasses
That achy, tired, irritated feeling you feel in your eyes after few hours of looking at a computer screen may be Digital Eye Strain (DES for short, also commonly known as Computer Vision Syndrome). That eye strain, visual problems, hindered visual abilities, and eye irritation may be caused by staring at digital devices for sometimes a minimum of only two hours a day. Whether using a phone, tablet, laptop, or computer monitor, there are a range of symptoms that people experience. Most common symptoms include eye and vision problems such as:
- Eye fatigue / tired eyes
- Eye strain
- Eye discomfort
- Dry eyes / itchy eyes / irritated eyes
- Blurry vision / double vision
- Neck pain / shoulder pain / back pain
People may experience Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain symptoms differently – feeling every type of discomfort, or only one – and some are more prone to Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain than others. For instance, those who experience specific elements of Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain more acutely may feel that their eyes are incredibly exhausted at the end of the day versus their eyes only bothering them slightly.
There are two main culprits of Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain: prolonged exposure to blue light and glare. Blue light is high energy light that digital devices and LED lights emit. Blue light sits at the end of the visible light spectrum, right next to UV light. Its short wavelength, which is inversely correlated to energy level (meaning the shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy), enables that high energy to enter and stress the ciliary muscle in the eye, thus leading to Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain. Blue light’s nickname is HEV light (high-energy visible light) for a reason!
In addition, blue light’s ability to penetrate our eyes suppresses our melatonin secretion. Melatonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate our sleep at night and wakefulness during the day, as well as maintains our body’s circadian rhythm (which is our body’s internal, 24-hour clock). Because prolonged exposure to blue light (most relevantly, from our screens) suppresses this neurotransmitter, all of that night-time phone-, laptop-, and TV-use tricks your mind into thinking it should still be alert and awake, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. There are also current studies in animal and stem cell models that show a positive correlation between overexposure to blue light and retina damage; this appears similar to age-related macular degeneration. Think of how UV light – blue light’s neighbor on the visible light spectrum – is known to damage our skin and cornea, which is why we wear sunblock and UV coated sunglasses to protect ourselves. With the negative effects of UV overexposure in mind, prolonged exposure to blue light and the potential negative effects that accompany it aren’t entirely surprising, are they?
Glare, the second culprit of Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain, is unnecessary feedback that enters the eye. This, in turn, stresses the ciliary muscle in the eye and cause issues like dry, strained, irritated eyes and headaches. We don’t just experience glare from our screens, though. Some people are particularly sensitive to glare from oncoming car lights while driving at night, for example. That’s where our anti-glare (or anti-reflective, AR) coating comes into play. Regardless of the magnification you choose, all of our lenses come with our AR coating that blocks 99% of glare both from our screens and the world around us.
Readers may be for you if you experience Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain alongside the need for stronger magnification when looking at objects at an up-close (12-14 inches) distance.
How to Know if Readers are Right for You
Are you most comfortable reading or viewing material at an arm’s length, or more (think: 12-14 inches)? When you have an extra hard time focusing while viewing your screen (or any object in detail) at a close distance, or objects closer than 12-14 inches appear blurry, then readers may be for you. At Felix Gray, we offer readers with +1.0, +1.5, +2.0, and +2.5 magnified lenses. This magnification helps you more clearly see objects that are 12-14 inches away (think: screens, phones, books, newspapers, laptops, etc.) if they were otherwise out of focus or cause further eye strain. The higher the reader power, the more magnified the lenses!
Readers are a “one-size-fit-all” solution to farsighted related vision issues. This is not to be confused with farsightedness, academically known as Hyperopia. Rather, the need for readers is often attributed to age and is formally called Presbyopia. Presbyopia is an age-related condition where your eyes’ lenses become less flexible as your eyes age, meaning that your eyes’ ability to focus on up-close details decreases naturally with age. Readers are a low-maintenance solution to blurry vision and difficulty in focusing beyond any symptoms experienced as a result of Computer Vision Syndrome (also known as Digital Eye Strain). With reader glasses, both lenses have the same magnification power, and the location of the optical center of the lenses is not customized per person. With prescription glasses that have personalized scripts and that you receive from a doctor, each lenses’ power and optical center may be different according to your unique needs (for example, someone that needs a doctor’s prescription for glasses may need a stronger magnification for one eye than the other). When you have a doctor-prescribed pair of glasses, the optical center of each lens is unique to your eye and matches the optical center of your eyeball, allowing you to best focus on an object.
After trying our blue light filtering, glare-blocking readers, if you still experience headaches, strained eyes, and potentially even nausea, you may need a stronger or more personalized prescription. If you experience these symptoms, we suggest visiting an eye doctor for a more customized reading glasses prescription.
What are Computer Reading Glasses?
Two of the main culprits behind Digital Eye Strain and Computer Vision Syndrome (which are, essentially, interchangeable terms) are blue light and glare. These byproducts of digital screens can contribute to many symptoms including eye strain, eye fatigue, headaches, irritation eyes, and blurry vision.
At Felix Gray, we specially design lenses to absorb blue light while remaining clear and not affect color perception or acuity. We achieve this by taking a naturally occurring blue light filtering ocular pigment and combining it with our lens material and whitening components. Through this proprietary method, we’ve created a lens that is the perfect balance between fashion and function. We then apply a premium AR (anti-reflective, also known as anti-glare) coating on top to eliminate 99% of glare. Something to keep in mind is that humans don’t just experience glare from our digital screens! Some people are particularly sensitive to glare from oncoming car lights while driving at night, for example. Because of this lifestyle need and regardless of the magnification you choose, all of our lenses come with our anti-reflective coating that blocks 99% of glare from both our screens and the world around us.
Our glasses are for people with 20/20 vision, need slight magnification (enter: our four readers offered in +1.0, +1.5, +2.0, and +2.5 magnification), and who wear contact lenses. Uncorrected vision or not, your eyes will not become dependent on the positive benefits of our lenses, and your Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain will decrease significantly.
For our readers, you do not need a doctor’s note in order to attain a pair (readers are also commonly known as “cheaters”). However, readers are not comfortable or necessary for people with 20/20 vision. Rather, reader magnification is more power than our non-prescription, slight, and optional +.25 magnified lenses and is often the first step towards prescription lenses as your eyes get older (and wiser). People in the digital age who have a hard time focusing on objects 12-14 inches away – experiencing blurry vision, strained eyes, and eye discomfort because you are having a harder time focusing on close objects – may consider giving Felix Gray reading glasses a whirl. Our reading glasses are available in +1.0, +1.5, +2.0, and +2.5 magnifying power. The higher the reading power, the more magnified the lenses!
How do Computer Reading Glasses Work?
Traditionally, other blue light filters lenses are tinted a dark yellow to filter blue light. This has two disadvantages. First, your color perception is completely distorted because everything appears more yellow. Second, yellow lenses are more aesthetically unpleasing. Some eyewear companies, however, opt-out of the yellow filter and coat their lenses. These coats are seemingly clear until you are facing a screen, at which point they appear blue as the coating deflects the blue light. Unfortunately, coatings are also less effective because they generally don’t target the highest energy wavelengths of blue light (whereas our glasses filter out 90% of the most damaging, 400-440nm range of blue light). These less effective blue light filters also can chip or peel away through repeated and normal use, which ultimately defeats the purpose of blue light filtering computer eyewear.
At Felix Gray, we specially design lenses to absorb blue light while remaining clear and not affecting color perception or acuity. We achieve this by taking a naturally occurring blue light filtering ocular pigment and combining it with our lens material and whitening components. Through this proprietary method, we’ve created a lens that is the perfect balance between fashion and function. Only at this point to do we apply a premium AR (anti-reflective, or anti-glare) coating on top, which eliminates glare white not working against the blue light filter.
In addition to this anti-glare, blue light filtering digital protection, readers offer a magnification power that allows you to focus on up-close objects, roughly 12-14 inches away, without further straining your eyes. Again, you do not need a traditional doctor’s prescription to wear these glasses. However, the disadvantages of readers are the “set prescription” options, meaning that you are not able to personalize the optical center of the lenses or adjust if the two lenses should have different prescriptions.
If you experience blurred vision beyond Digital Eye Strain and Computer Vision Syndrome symptoms and your eyes are further strained, irritated, or dry when viewing screens – or any objects – up close, readers may be worth a shot. People who experience double vision, with or without a screen, may also experience further comfort through our blue light filtering, glare-blocking reader glasses.
How to Choose the Correct Reading Magnification
Presbyopia is an age-related condition – often appearing in your late 30s and continuing to worsen through your 60s – where the eyes gradually lose their ability to focus on nearby objects (though it is different than farsightedness, which is when your eye is irregularly-shaped, thus preventing light from lining up with the retina. Farsightedness affects people regardless of age). Presbyopia is caused through age-related decreased elasticity and flexibility in the eyes’ lenses, which makes it more difficult to focus on objects (including your laptop, phone, a book, the newspaper, etc.) a close range.
Readers are most commonly and effectively used for objects 12-14 inches away. The magnification in both lenses is the same, while doctor-prescribed glasses may have personalized prescriptions in each lens according to your customized and more advanced needs.
When determining which reader power is best for you, you need to consider the diopter strength. This refers to the optical strength (or power) of the reading lens when measured at one meter. Felix Gray readers currently come in +1.0, +1.5, +2.0, and +2.5 powers. The higher the number, the more powerful the magnification in the lenses! While you should confirm with your eye doctor, Felix Gray’s consulting optometrists have okayed people jumping up or down +.25 diopter (meaning, you can try +2.0 if you are usually most comfortable with +1.75). Your eyes will not become dependent, nor will your vision worsen, through jumping up or down a diopter.
Felix Grays readers add comfort, protection, and relief while interacting with digital screens because of our internally-baked blue light filters and anti-glare coating, but they also provide magnification when reading or looking at any objects at a close distance. Whether looking at digital devices and screens or books and newspapers, our readers will do the trick if you struggle with up-close viewing and focusing. Because of our AR (anti-reflective, or anti-glare) coating, you will also experience added relief and focus while driving at night.
At this time, we do not offer bifocal reading or prescription lenses. Bifocal lenses are a type of lens that have two different types of vision correction in each lens. Often, with bifocal reading lenses, the top portion of each lens has a magnification for further away distance, and the bottom portion of each lens has a magnification for close-up distances. A distinct line divides the far-distance-viewing part from the close-distance-viewing part of these lenses. This, essentially, is two readers in one. We are excited to carry single-vision lens, meaning our lenses provide magnification for a fixed distance.
How to Choose the Perfect Frame Fit
Follow these helpful tips to help you find the perfect Felix Gray frame fit! It is also helpful to measure your favorite, most comfortable pair of glasses as a reference and compare it to our frame dimensions
- Glasses should stay put on your nose (pro tip: for low nose bridges, try the Nash’s or Faradays) and not be constantly sliding down
- Your eyebrows (no matter how thick or thin) should not be hiding below or making contact with the frames
- The bottom of the lenses should also not rest on those lovely cheeks of yours
- Your pupils are as aligned near the center of your lenses as possible
- Blurry vision / double vision
- The arms should extend straight back, making contact with your face just before your ears. If they're too snug against your temples, we suggest a larger frame