Specialty Eyewear is designed to suit specific applications. They are specific to an activity, occupation, or hobby. The features included in the eyewear are selected are to enhance performance, provide protection, increase comfort, and aid efficiency.
Specialty eyewear can be as simple as a pair of prescription near vision glasses set for a certain distance.
Some materials, coatings, and lens designs, and frame designs can make the eyewear more useful or helpful.
Occupational Safety Glasses fall under the specialty eyewear group. Safety glasses protect eyes from flying debris while correcting vision.
Some other examples of specialty eyewear:
- Computer glasses
- Fishing/Boating Glasses
- Shooting./Archery/Hunting Glasses
- Driving Glasses
- Cycling Glasses
Progressive lenses are great all-around lenses, and work well for short periods of time on a computer, but for extended computer use, computer glasses can make the job a lot easier, and alleviate eyestrain and shoulder cramps
Computer glasses are tailored to the specific setup and the computer user's needs. Just as you might have different sneakers for jogging and for playing tennis or golf, you will find that different eyeglasses work better for different computer use. Laptops and tablets are much different from a large screen on a desktop, or even a multi-screen setup in an office.
Frame choice for computer glasses can vary as well. For home use, where no mirrors are near, and nobody will be dropping in, an inexpensive but comfortable frame may be best, especially if multiple pairs are needed. For an office environment or something public facing, a finer frame may be desired, but comfort is very important, so pick something that fits properly, is lightweight, and has enough viewing area to give the full benefit of the lens chosen.
I'll discuss the lens options according to increasing cost and complexity.
For those that just need to see the screen, and need to see it full width, single vision is inexpensive and simple. An advantage to inexpensive is that they can be left right by the compute when you leave. Just swap them with your all-around eyeglasses.
Single vision lenses should be set for the working distance of your computer screen. Reading glasses will focus to close. When prescribing computer lenses, the doctor will need to know the distance from your eye (or tip of your nose) to the computer screen. If you take an actual measurement, you'll be happier with the result.
Single Vision With Accommodative Easing
Essilor, one of the largest lens companies, introduced a lens called EyeZen+ that has a little bit of add power in the lower part of the lens. The lenses are designed to make prolonged use of digital devices such as tablets and cell phones less straining. There are four levels of power available, roughly matched to the age of the intended wearer. The lenses also filter out some of the higher range of the blue spectrum to help protect against damage that may lead to Age Related Macular Degenration.
Some people need to be able to see the screen of a desktop computer and be able to read from paper, such as entering receipts into an accounting program. A traditional bifocal with a low add can be an ideal solution with the added benefit of being inexpensive. The whole screen is clearly in focus. The bifocal segment is set very low to be out of the way when viewing the screen.
There are special progressive lenses marketed as computer lenses. These lenses are optimized to have a very wide intermediate zone. The distance zone is very narrow, and the near zone is not as wide as in a more traditional progressive lens. Computer progressive lenses are a specialty product and are priced accordingly. The cost is set at the wholesale level by the lens laboratories.
Office Progressive Lens
An office progressive is similar to a computer progressive, but optimized for paperwork, and other more generalized intermediate work. If you do a lot of computer work, but also require a lot of mobility and other office activities, an office progressive lens is a better choice than a computer progressive.
Blue Light Filtering
There are two ranges of blue light which are common to filter. Recent research indicates that these ranges of the light spectrum have suprising effect on us.
The higher frequency range of blue light is considered damaging to the retina. Complete filtering of the high frequency (high energy) blue light gives a lens a yellowish cast that is unatrractive. Most products filter only 20% of the high energy blue light to avoid the unattractive yelllow cast.
Long wavelength blue light (lower frequency) has been shown to affect circadian rhythm (sleep cycles). For those that find themselves awake until late in the night using the computer, a blue filter of the low frequency blue light may help you restore normal sleep patterns.
Anti-reflective coatings make a lens clearer to look through. They also remove annoying refelctions and ghost images which can make computer work tedious and cause eye strain. While not necessary, Anti-reflective coating makes computer work a lot nicer.
Some golfers want an unobstructed and undistorted view of the course. For presbyopic golfers, this is complicated by the need to read and jot on the scorecard.
For this situation, one solution is to place a round seg bifocal on one lens, low and out of the way. If the golfer is right handed, the segment would be on the right lens, so that when teeing off, the view of the fairway is unobstructed to the left. The view downward at the ball is also unobstructed at the tee and on the green. For a lefty, the seg would be set on the left lens, also low and out of the way.
To jot on the score card, the golfer tilts his head and looks through the seg.
Round segs are available in clear and Transitions, but not in polarized nor in Transitions Vantage which is a photochromic polarized lens.
Golfers that are comfortable with progressive lenses will find that progressives designed for more active lifestyle, such as Varilux Physio, or Varilux X Series lenses are a better choice than those progressives more suited to an office environment. These lenses are available in Grey, Brown, and Graphite Green as Transitions Signature VII, as well as in Transitions Vantage for a versatile polarized choice.
Crizal anti-reflective coatings on the lenses, such as the new Crizal Sapphire 360 UV, wil enhance the clarity of the lens, and eliminate the annoying reflections off the back of the lens that can make it hard to spot the ball.
We recommend that golf lenses be of Trivex or Polycarbonate material to afford maximum impact protection.
Painter's (artist) Glasses
A painter came to us with a special problem specific to his hobby. He needed to be able to see the canvas on his easel, as well as his subject.
The subject was at distance, and the canvas was at arm length - slightly more than reading distance.
We solved his problem by selecting a very wide segment traditional bifocal (FT35), adjusting the prescription for the working distances, and turning the segments sideways in the frame - to the right side in this case. The patient was then able to look left to see the subject, and right to see the easel.
Something similar can be achieved for musicians in an orchestra, where they need to be able to read sheet music on a stand and also see the conductors movement.
Novel approaches such as this make the profession of opticianry a lot of fun.
A patient came in looking for eyeglasses with side shields to protect him from the wind as he rode his Harley Davison.
We noted that he would also need a good fit about the bridge of his nose for good wind protection. The lenses and frame would also have to have good impact resistance.
The frame we selected from our safety eyewear catalog is a Titmus SW06. It is a nylon frame with 17° faceform, removable dust dam, and integral side shields.
The lenses are polycarbonate for their superior impact resistance and modest cost. For sun protection, the lenses were ordered with Transitions Vantage which lighten and darken with sunlight, and also have a polarized filter when darkened. Polarization eliminates glare from reflected light, and allows clear vision into other vehicles.
The patient did not feel that progressive lenses were necessary for riding, which kept the cost down. We recommended against anti-reflection coating, expecting that dust and abrasives would reduce its durability and accellerate the need to replace the lenses.