Feb 012013
 
 February 1, 2013  Posted by at 4:28 pm Not So Stupid Questions  Add comments

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

Do computer glasses work?

Do computer glasses work?

I’ve seen a few wear those, the computer glasses. And honestly I have considered getting a pair myself. But I wasn’t sure if they actually work or if it just a gimmick. A pair is rather expensive, so I I was very curious. I recently read an article on LifeHacker about computer glasses

And decided to do some research as well and had a read through a couple of forums and studies. So there are a couple of studies, but most of them are small, and none of them are blind trials.

This basically means the result can indicate that there is a reason to pursue further studies but not enough to draw a conclusion. The studies I’ve read have supported that there is something to it. The real question remains, do you need ‘special’ glasses,- or will just ‘normal’ glasses with a tint and antiglare effect do- and maybe some slight magnifying effect in the +1 range? From what I read on forums it seems that those two things are the things that help,- but only if you have a problem in the first place.

Turns out that computer glasses probably do work. I’m going to get a pair to see if it helps with my neck problems and migraines + neck strain + extreme nausea and I will compare that to turning down the screen brightness, and use +1 glasses.
Do you use them, have you tried a pair, and did they work for you?

EDIT: Follow-up post: Stupid Question 150: RE Q141 is there any difference between modern prescription glasses and computer glasses? + I did an exam and turns out I do need prescription glasses.

  17 Responses to “Stupid Question 141: Do computer glasses work?”

  1. I am also thinking of getting a pair. Not sure if they work but just to look like a badass when sitting by my computer 😉

    • Ha ha ha 😀 Yeah, the Gunnar’s look pretty cool 😀

      • Wow that sounds bad! How long are your coding sessions? 3 days? 😀

        What type of monitor are you using?

        I also sometimes reduce the resolution. Although it’s a bit blurry not being native (on LCD) I find text easier to read.

        Hope you sort it out soon. Throwing up because of staring at a screen is not good.

  2. I didn’t realize that computer glasses of that sort existed. My doctor suggested computer glasses last year when my migraines increased in frequency. I went to an optometrist, who determined that yes, I was in fact having trouble focusing on the screen. She wrote me a prescription, including the anti-glare. (The glasses are not nearly as yellow as the ones in the photos, though.) They make a definite difference, though I am going to need a new prescription soon to accommodate reading books, as well.

    I wouldn’t mess about with off-the-shelf glasses. Go get an exam and see what kind of glasses you really need.

    • Hm, then I must definitely give a pair a go! I don’t use glasses, but I’ll do an exam soon to and I’ll ask for some advice. After some really long coding sessions I’ll throw up for the whole night and have a two-day pulsating migraine. The nausea is probably worse than the migraine as I’m unable to eat

  3. The prescription ones are quite good if you need them, they are the same thing as Reading glasses but are optimized for usual distance to the screen that are a bit different from reading a book.
    They have been really popular in Sweden because if you need them the company you work for can pay them to you without any taxes and so on…
    The yellow ones you are referring to is probably more cool to have then useful.
    A usual problem is that the lighting in the room are wrong either to light or to dark or looking right in to a light source, also the brightness on the screen should be adapted to the lightning in the room otherwise it will strain your eyes…
    So ask when you check your eyes and they can help you get the right ones..

    • Hm, I should ask my boss. I’m going to have my eyes checked soon so i can get started on my driving license (Yes, I don’t have one). I thought the tint is to add contrast, there are some studies that seem to support that – but I know there are tint-free glasses as well.

      • Yes its for adding contrast, on many computers you also could adjust the contrast in the settings directly on the screen.
        Computer glasses with prescriptions usually don’t have tint on them..
        The optician can also inform you what your boss should pay and not if they think you will need them.
        Just remember to ask them to check for the computer glasses also because a usual driving license check doesn’t do that..

  4. I strain my eyes when I focus on the screen as well, but my problem is astigmatism (“skjeve hornhinner” in Norwegian in case the translation is wrong). Proper glasses cured that problem. I tried lenses for a while, but I forget to blink when I concentrate, so the lenses dried out giving me a blurred vision instead.

    Your optometrist should be able to help you out.

    • One can actually have surgery for astigmatism now, expensive but can be worth it I guess it depends how bad it is. I also forget to blink, my eyes get really dry 🙁

  5. I have a pair Iris (not the ones in your post but same same). I mostly use them when I am gaming but they do work. Much less strain on the eyes in my experience.

  6. Hello Iris,
    As many suggested, you should firstly go see an optician. In Sweden, it is called “Terminalglasögon”. I found a site with more information: http://www.terminalglasogon.com/. Yellow glasses is more for driving and shooting then working with computers. That is my experience. Thanks for a great blog!

  7. G’day Iris, very sorry to hear of the ill-effects you’re getting. Do you also feel a whirling sensation or disoriented especially when moving your eyes back and forth a lot when looking at code? I suffer Meniere’s Syndrome and a lot of people misunderstand the vertigo as “just” nausea. My early attacks were often triggered by computer use, later progressing to being triggered by just a rapid head turn. (I had to give up tangoing on ice, literally!)

    The good news is that if Meniere’s is the cause, treatment with Serc is very likely to help – something worth getting into quickly after diagnosis as repeated attacks cause major inner ear damage – long-term hearing loss and tinnitus.

    I mention all this because specialists often don’t think outside their range so someone considering it as a purely optical phenomena is possibly not going to help. OTOH I might just be being a brash Aussie.

    Sympathies from Downunder!

  8. I use f.lux [http://stereopsis.com/flux/] I find that it helps greatly especially when I get it’s dark out.

  9. I’m extremely light sensitive and find most artificial/office light now gives me a migraine level headache in 20 minutes.
    I started wearing glasses for computer work mid-2008. At the time I also got my eyes tested and my usual 20/20 vision needed about a 2% lens correction. I started with Transitions glasses (http://www.transitions.com.au) at that time for the anti-glare quality, and they helped a bit. Then I got a pair of normal, blue tinted glasses that reduced even more light around the eye, and they worked well too.
    In my last contract role – which was a hideously over-bright office full of close packed double banks of fluoro lights – I ended up spending $600 on a pair of Drivewear lenses (http://www.drivewearlens.com/) in the same Ray Ban frames I have for my sunglasses. I also wore a Kenji hat with a small rim to help stop high-angel light. Those in combination were brilliant, and allowed me to work all day without trouble. I’m back to 20/20 vision now without any problems.
    But the last 18 months I’ve worked from home in natural light and haven’t needed any glasses, which says to me it’s the artificial ambient light offices that is the real problem.

  10. While not all migraines are created equal I can report success with the humble aspirin. One of the oldest medicines and overlooked by me in favour of modern and what I mistakenly thought to be stronger and more effective treatments.
    I had not considered using it and after recommendation by my GP am thrilled with its effectiveness. Sometimes the simpler solutions are overlooked.
    I have had months without a migraine after two years of weekly attacks. The trick is to notice the familiar twinge that precedes the full onset. One or two and follow up again in a few hours if needed. You should reduce the amount to a minimum eventually when you learn what dose is effective.
    Also notice what foods you have eaten in the 12 hours prior to the migraine that may be a cause. Regardless of the cause, as long as I get in early my migraines are history. Also, strong coffee will not eliminate an attack but it certainly seems to help boost the efficacy of the treatment.

    Good luck. I hope this helps for you or anyone else reading this.

    ps. +1 for f.lux. Thanks to Merlin Mann on 5by5’s Back to Work podcast for that tip.

  11. I’m using f.lux, really helps

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