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.

computer desk workplace

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.

Single Vision

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.

smartphone

Traditional Bifocal

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.

Computer Progressive

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 coating

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.