Can Computer Glasses Hurt Your Vision?
I get asked this question all the time. Typically from people that have nearly perfect vision but are thinking about buying a set of computer glasses to find relief from Digital Eye Strain.
The question is usually worded like this: My eye doctor told me I have 20/20 vision and I don't need glasses, but, I spend 8+ hours in front of digital devices and my eyes are suffering because of it. I want to buy a set of computer glasses but I'm afraid they will have a negative long-term effect on my quality of vision.
I'm here to put your mind at ease by saying there is no need to worry, your vision will not get worse if you use computer glasses. You may, however, develop a dependency on them.
Computer glasses vs. Blue Light Blocking glasses
It may seem like a new thing, but computer glasses have been around for a very long time. Much longer than the current "harmful blue light" hysteria that's going around at the moment.
Currently, Blue Light Blocking glasses are everywhere and they have been labeled “computer glasses” by many manufacturers. But blue light blockers aren’t computer glasses, they simply do just as their names say, block blue light. These products are available in countless price options and are sold virtually everywhere. You could pay $15 or you could pay over $100, but in most cases they do the same basic thing. Some are made with higher quality materials but nonetheless, they are just blocking blue light.
Computer glasses, on the other hand, don’t prioritize blocking blue light, their main objective is to help your eyes stay focused and provide assistance to your eye muscles. You see, true computer glasses should have some power in the lenses, even if it’s just +.25 like you can find in Gunnar and Felix Gray glasses. That small amount of power, combined with a decentered optical center, helps your eyes to relax just a bit.
Developing a dependency
I have found this analogy to be the best way of explaining the influence of computer glasses. Think about why most people drink coffee. It’s not always the most flavorful drink, and there isn’t much nutritional value in it, but the caffeine… the amazing caffeine. That’s why it’s the most traded commodity in the world. People all around the world use it because it wakes them up and provides a burst of energy.
After a night of little sleep, you’re tired and in need of a little help to get you focused, so you grab a cup of coffee to help you make it through your day. Hurray, it helped! You do this enough times and guess what? You’re now depending on that cup of coffee to get you going even when you had a good night sleep.
You could, theoretically, kick the coffee out and just get more rest and find natural ways to boost your energy, but most people don’t want to do that, they are ok with their coffee dependency.
Computer glasses are used to compensate and assist us when we have developed poor habits in relation to the use of digital devices. If you use them, and you can tolerate the power (not everyone can), then you’re likely to find some relief from digital eye strain. It won’t make your 20/20 vision deteriorate to 20/50, but you’ll probably become dependent on the help they give you.
Much like the coffee, you can make changes to your lifestyle in order to avoid the dependency, but most of us won’t do it. If you wear computer glasses for a month strait and suddenly stop wearing them, your eyes will notice the difference just like a regular coffee drinker would notice going a day or two without a cup.
So the answer is no, there are no long term negative effects to your eye sight but you may develop a dependency on them. If you want to avoid such a need, then I encourage you to take breaks and rest your eyes multiple times a day. This can help reduce the symptoms of digital eye strain and prevent the need for computer glasses.
Thank you for reading. Have an awesome day.