Do I Need Computer Reading Glasses?

In our increasingly electronic world, our eyes spend more and more time staring at digital screens. Whether you work on a computer all day, read on a tablet before bed, or check your phone frequently throughout the day, your eyes need a break. If you’re in the 80% of American adults who use digital devices for longer than two hours a day or the 59% of Americans that experience the temporary symptoms of Digital Eye Strain, you may be a perfect candidate for computer reading glasses!

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

You may be curious as to how you can determine if you suffer from Digital Eye Strain — the symptoms are fairly simple. If at the end of the day your eyes feel tired or dry, you have a headache, your vision seems more blurred, or your neck and shoulders ache, you may be experiencing the temporary symptoms of Digital Eye Strain, also known as Computer Vision Syndrome, which can be caused by prolonged exposure to potentially harmful blue light.*

On the visible light spectrum, the red end has rays with longer wavelengths containing less energy, while the light on the blue end of the spectrum has short, high-energy wavelengths. It’s the powerful blue light rays that are most concerning when your eyes are exposed to them for extended periods of time.

What can blue light potentially do to your eyes? Our eyes have difficulty filtering out blue light, which allows the blue light to travel to our retina at the back of our eye and potentially damage those cells. This could lead to long-term damage, and eventually, vision loss.

Not all blue light is harmful, however. It’s been shown that some exposure to natural blue light could be beneficial to your health and can help promote alertness, boost your mood, and help with your circadian rhythm. The biggest source of natural blue light is the sun, while artificial sources of blue light include LED and fluorescent lights, and digital devices including flat screen televisions, smartphones, e-readers, and tablets.

blue light spectrum chart

Continued exposure to potentially harmful blue light can lead to Digital Eye Strain, and using digital devices before heading to bed can make it difficult to fall asleep. We wear sunglasses when outside to help protect our eyes from UV rays and help us see more clearly; computer reading glasses are just as important! Whenever you’re using a computer, digital device or watching an LED screen, you should wear a pair of computer readers to help keep your eyes safe from potentially harmful blue light.

As with anything else, moderation is key. In addition to wearing computer glasses, The American Optometric Association recommends using the 20-20-20 rule while using digital devices: take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

Types of Computer Glasses

How Do Computer Reading Glasses Work?

Computer reading glasses function just like normal readers but have the added benefit of helping to reduce the temporary effects of Digital Eye Strain and helping to protect your eyes from potentially harmful blue light.

Depending on the distance between you and your computer screen or another digital device, you may need to select a different power than your standard power. The standard reading distance is 12”-18” from your eyes, and this is when you order your standard reading power. The further away something is from you, the lower the reading power should be in order to focus on it  With this in mind, computer screens are 18”-24” away from you on average, which would mean you divide your standard reading power in half. For example, if your standard power for reading is +2.50, you would want to order a +1.25 computer reader to see the screen clearly at 18”-24” away.

standard reading distance power chart

Lens Features of Computer Reading Glasses

Our computer glasses have tinted lenses and an anti-reflective coating to help reduce glare from the screen.

Choosing the Right Lens

Fully Magnified Computer Readers

Fully magnified lenses have one magnification distributed equally throughout the entire lens.

Multifocal Computer Readers

Multifocal lenses have three focal areas. Your reading magnification is located in the bottom portion of the lens with the magnification decreasing to the intermediate focal point in the center of the lens. The top of the lens has a small section with the third focal point for focusing on people or objects across the room.

Unmagnified Computer Readers

Unmagnified computer reading glasses are perfect for contact wearers or those who don’t yet need reading glasses but want to reduce Digital Eye Strain.

Blue Light Blocking Readers

Our Blue Light Blocking lenses are fully magnified and help protect your eyes from the blue light emitted by digital screens by blocking potentially harmful blue light.*

To learn more about finding the right lens type based on your needs, we suggest reading our “Find the Right Reading Glasses Lenses” guide.


*Disclaimer: Lenses do not block all blue light. Lenses help reduce the amount of potentially harmful blue light transmitted through the lens and varies between lens types. Harmful blue light refers to the 415-455 nanometer range of the visible light spectrum.