Are you finding it’s become difficult to see the screen clearly when you’re doing computer work? If so, you’re not alone – many people require what’s called a computer (or reading) prescription to help them see up close, thereby avoiding headaches and eyestrain.
Your optometrist can give you both a regular eye prescription and advise you on the strength of eyeglasses you need for computer work. Alternatively, if your prescription is relatively low or you don’t currently need corrective lenses, you can work this out yourself using the guide below – it’s easier than you think to do.
Start by measuring the distance from your face to the screen when sitting in the normal position you would for computer work. Next, take a look at your regular prescription, as written out by your optometrist. You’re looking for the details of the sphere. As an example, in a prescription that reads +1.00 – 0.50 x 100, the +1.00 relates to the sphere.
As a general rule, you need to add approximately another 1 to the sphere number to get your computer prescription in cases where the screen is between twenty-one to thirty-five inches from your face. So if your regular prescription is +1.00 (in terms of the sphere), you’ll need to add another one diopter of strength to find your computer prescription, which would therefore be +2.00.
However, if your computer screen is more than thirty-five inches from your face, the calculation is slightly different. In this case, you’ll; need to add about another 1.5 diopters of strength to your regular eyeglasses prescription to find the computer prescription. So, still using the above example, this would be +2.50.
If you don’t have an eye prescription or perhaps are only currently wearing clear glasses with blue-light-blocking lenses, but are struggling to see the screen clearly, then how do you work out your computer prescription?
In this case, simply start your calculation at zero- this means that your computer glasses prescription would be +1.00 or +1.50 if you sit more than thirty-five inches from your screen. Consider heading to your local pharmacy – many offer computer (or reading) glasses at such low strengths, which could be perfect for your needs.
It’s easy to find the pair of computer glasses that you need if your prescription is of relatively low strength. If the normal distance between your face and your screen is twenty-one inches (which is fairly average), then it’s helpful to be aware that this is roughly the length of your arm.
With this in mind, try on a few pairs of glasses, standing at arm’s length from the reading chart provided, and check that you can read text that’s about the same size as that on your computer screen.
Fine-tune the process if you feel the strength is a little too low or too high by going up or down in small 0.25 diopter increments.
If you already have a prescription for eyeglasses but are struggling when working on the computer, then bifocal or progressive lenses could be the answer. Both of these lens types feature two prescriptions combined into one lens. Typically, the ‘reading’ section of the lens (also for computer work) is located on the lower section of the lens, with the ‘regular’ prescription on the upper half.
Whereas bifocals have a line denoting where one prescription begins and ends, progressive lenses have one continuous lens without a visible line. Many people opt for progressive lenses for the seamless vision between near and far distances that they provide and the fact that only one set of eyeglasses is required for both reading and everyday purposes, rather than two.
If you’re struggling to see your computer screen clearly, it’s important to take steps to resolve this situation to avoid eyestrain and headaches. Luckily, whether or not you have an existing eye prescription, this is very easy to do. Use the above guide to figure out how to convert your eye prescription to that needed for computer work, so you can choose the best pair of eyeglasses – whether this is a pharmacy pair of readers or a set of progressive specs – for your needs.