Researchers say Americans spend nearly half their waking hours looking at screens. While glancing at a text message on your phone may cause no problem at all, watching a computer screen all day long — followed by a long evening of smartphone use — can take a toll. Computer glasses may help.
Some computer glasses block blue lights emitted by electronic devices. Others are made to reduce strain caused by screens. You’ll need a prescription for some versions, but others are available over the counter.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Computer Glasses?
Computer glasses are built with special lenses for viewing content on digital screens like laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
They’re different from traditional reading glasses in that their lenses are designed to address the poor contrast or blurry text that may compromise vision when working at a computer.
Unlike reading glasses, computer glasses usually support intermediate viewing distances.
Types of Computer Glasses
Several different types of computer glasses are available to correct vision problems or make your screen time more comfortable. These include prescription glasses, over-the-counter glasses, single-vision glasses, bifocals, trifocals, and progressives.
If you have farsightedness or astigmatism (blurred distance and near vision), you may experience difficulty viewing content on digital screens. This problem is also common in people with poor focusing or presbyopia (age-related loss of near vision).
By wearing prescription glasses for computers, you can improve your vision when typing or using an application. You may undergo the following tests to get the right glasses for digital screens:
- Visual acuity test
- Refraction tests (to determine the necessary lens focusing power needed to correct your astigmatism or near/distant vision problem)
- Eye focus test
Some people don’t need a prescription to help them see computer screens better, but they would like to reduce eyestrain. Over-the-counter glasses that are specifically designed for computer use might contain anti-glare features, allowing you to do your work without harming your eyes.
Blue Light Glasses
Wearing blue light glasses may protect your eyes from the effects of light from the digital gadgets you interact with daily. The eyewear may include an anti-reflective film for glare protection when working at a computer.
A 2017 randomized crossover study by the American Academy of Optometry indicated that blue light blocking glasses can mute the negative effects on visual acuity, night vision, glare, sleep, and mood.
Single-vision computer glasses have fixed focusing power within 20 to 26 inches.
Computer glasses with bifocal lenses support reading distances (near vision) and intermediate-range vision for digital screens. You have enhanced near vision through the lower part of the lens, while the upper portion improves your mid-range eyesight.
Progressive lenses for computers help to improve eyesight at all distances and can improve your vision comfort when working on a computer. Wearing these glasses can eliminate those uncomfortable head movements as you repeatedly shift eye focus between your digital screen, manual files, and other areas in your office.
Why Wear Computer Glasses?
Computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, is one of the most common side effects of prolonged screen time. About 90% of people who view a digital screen for three hours or more a day have this problem.
While you may not feel it immediately, viewing a computer display strains your visual system more than reading a book. Blurry text, contrast issues, glare, and screen reflections can compound this problem, adversely affecting your vision comfort.
Also, your viewing distances and angles when working at a computer may change multiple times on an average day at the office. With the constant eye movements and changes in focusing distances, your eyes are overworking.
Computer glasses could help to reduce common computer vision syndrome problems, such as the following:
- Eye strain
- Blurry vision
- Dry eyes
How Computer Glasses Work
All computer glasses versions work a little differently, depending on their design and your prescription.
Some designs include blue light and anti-glare coatings, while others can correct refractive errors like nearsightedness and farsightedness.
While computer glasses are a worthy ergonomic upgrade for your workspace, they are only part of the recommended digital eye strain management plan. They usually work alongside other preventive measures like these:
- Eliminate any glare in your room or office.
- Use larger fonts on your smartphone or computer screen.
- Observe the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take your eyes off the screen and look at something 20 feet away from your desk for 20 seconds.
- Blink a lot to keep your eyes moist when using screens.
Best Computer & Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Do you regularly spend long hours in front of a digital screen and are concerned about eye strain? You are not alone, and eyeglass makers know it. A wide range of options are available. Here are some good options:
Warby Parker Blue Light Glasses
Blue light lenses filter out more blue light than the company’s standard options. Add them to a prescription (such as progressives) for added vision upgrades, or use them without a prescription to make reading a screen easier. Available in all the frames Warby Parker offers, this is a versatile option.
Unity Via OfficePro
Try the Unity Via OfficePro computer glasses if you need a versatile ergonomic solution for your digital workspace. The customizable lenses include options like advanced fit to support near and intermediate vision more dynamically.
Ray Ban Jackie Ohh Blue-Light Clear
The Jackie Ohh Blue-Light Clear glasses are ideal for outdoor and digital experiences with their 100% UV blocker. The frames make for a stunning retro vibe, thanks to the cat-eye shape.
Zenni Gaming Glasses
Gamers will love these glasses from Zenni. Block blue light with the company’s technology, and know that the glasses won’t distort the colors of your favorite game. Available in both prescription and over-the-counter versions with plenty of frame styles to choose from.
Gunnar offers patented lens technology that blocks blue light and harmful UV rays. A lens coating completes the package, ensuring you have full protection. Choose clear lenses for indoor work, or pick a tinted option if you’re working outside for long periods. Add a prescription to the lens or choose an over-the-counter version.
Peepers lenses block blue light and glare to help prevent eye strain. Lenses come with anti-scratch coatings too, so you can carry them to and from the office without worrying about damage. Choose a magnification strength ranging from zero to 3x.
Caddis Hooper Computer Glasses
Caddis offers screen-ready glasses that block blue light. You can’t add a prescription to these glasses, but you can choose a subtle tint that makes the protection even more effective. Exchange them if you’re not 100% satisfied with the purchase.
FAQs About Computer & Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Wearing computer glasses can reduce eye strain from extended staring at a digital screen. They are recommended to enhance your vision and performance if your average daily screen time is over a few hours.
It all depends on your specific vision requirements. If you have no underlying vision problem, computer glasses with anti-blue light and anti-glare treatments may do the trick. People with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or any other refractive errors require computer glasses that can repair focusing problems.
Survey: Americans Spend Nearly Half Their Waking Hours Looking at Screens. (January 2019). Study Finds.
Treating the Digital Eye. (March 2016). American Optometric Association.
Computer Vision Syndrome. American Optometric Association.
Last Updated October 6, 2023
Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.