Computer glasses and other glasses for working in front of screens

There has been an enormous increase in recent years in the amount of work being carried out in front of screens. According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, around two thirds of 25 to 54 year olds spend part of their everyday working lives in front of a screen. Those who wear glasses will at some point have to deal with choosing the right kind of glasses to wear at the workstation. After all, between the ages of 40 and 45 is when age-related long-sightedness (presbyopia) starts to occur, in addition to any existing eyesight conditions. This is a problem in particular for people with short-sightedness, since they now require correction both for long distances and short distances. There are two options available for correcting long-sightedness and short-sightedness:

1. Use your usual glasses for long distances and just resort to reading glasses for reading newspapers, books etc.
2. Have a pair of universal varifocals made for you, which are divided into three zones and correct your eyesight for short, middle and long distances.

Glasses for various fields of vision

Universal varifocals are practical but their suitability for working in front of computers is limited. The close range of the glasses is optimised for a reading distance of about 30 to 45 centimetres. This presents a problem when using these glasses for working at a screen. After all, ergonomically speaking, screens are best placed at a distance of 60 to 80 centimetres from the eyes. Those who rely on varifocals will therefore no longer see in focus. Computer glasses address precisely this problem.

How do computer glasses work?

Computer glasses are designed especially to address the needs of people who wear glasses, frequently work in front of screens and also have problems with age-related long-sightedness. There are various categories of computer glasses available:

1. Glasses with unifocal lenses
Unifocals correct just one field of vision, which means you will need several pairs of glasses if you are short-sighted and long-sighted and work in front of a screen. You can have special computer glasses made for a visual range of 60-80 centimetres, ensuring optimum vision of the screen. However, you will then need two other pairs of glasses for distance vision and near vision. Glasses for distance vision will help you to see distant objects in focus but are not great for up close. So you’ll need a pair of reading glasses for that.

Advantages of unifocal lenses for screens
- Clear vision of the monitor
- Clear vision throughout the entire lens
- Natural head movement Disadvantages of unifocal lenses for screens
- Fuzzy vision of long distances and for reading documents
- Frequent changes of glasses required for seeing long distance and close up
- Only suitable for working at screens
- People who read a lot and need to look up to see things further away need a visual aid that combines all three distances in one pair of glasses
- Not suitable for driving

2. Glasses with bifocal lenses

Bifocals (lenses with two different strengths) combine the lenses from two different pairs of glasses. With universal bifocals, the top section is for distance vision and the lower section is for near vision. Since the near vision section is optimised for a normal reading distance of 30 to 40 centimetres, these glasses are not so good for computer work.

Computer bifocals can help here. The top section of these glasses is optimised for the distance you work from the screen. This is useful for when you spend most of your time looking at the screen and only seldom need to read documents. You will still need an additional visual aid for distance vision.

The right screen position

The closer the screen is to your eyes, the harder the eye muscles will have to work. To protect your eyes, you should therefore make sure you are sitting far enough away from the screen. On average, a distance of 75 cm from the screen is recommended. As a rule of thumb, you should bear in mind that the bigger the screen, the further away it should be from your eyes.

Also, to prevent back pain and optimise your vision at the computer workstation, your screen should be individually adjusted to suit your needs. The most flexible way of achieving this is with swivel arms, which are freely adjustable and are therefore quick and easy to adapt. They will help you to adjust the height of the screen as well as bring it closer to you.

Ergonomic Novus Clu monitor support arms

This is particularly easy with Novus Clu monitor support arms. These support arms have a slim, modern design and can also be adjusted to suit any visual aids and your individual needs. This will help you to avoid tension in the neck and shoulders and ensure you can maintain a relaxed head position. The support arms also mean you don't have to depend on your computer glasses. They ensure you can flexibly adjust the screen forwards and backwards, up and down, bringing it closer to you, for example, when you want to work within the reading range of your universal varifocals. After all, flat screens that are positioned lower make it easier to use universal varifocals.

The advantages of Novus Clu at a glance

- Larger swivel, rotate and tilt range for optimum positioning of the screen to suit your glasses
- Optimised to suit the dimensions and weight of modern flat screens
- Various versions for the office to suit different requirements
- Modern design with Scandinavian influences and invisible cable management
- Simple attachment using a table clamp or a SlatWall attachment fitted with a universal adapter, which can be used to attach the monitor support arm to standard organisation walls and to the Novus more space system.

Would you like to find out more about Novus Clu? If so, why not make a non-binding consultation appointment.

Choosing the right glasses for working at a desk

Special computer glasses are not always advantageous, since the lenses are not ideal for distance vision. You will therefore almost always have to change glasses. To make it easier to switch between distances, you can wear universal varifocals combined with flexible screen holders. 

Your optician will be able to advise you on choosing the right glasses to suit your needs. Publications such as the leaflets produced by the Federal Institute for Occupational Health and Safety on “Good eyesight in the office: Glasses and screens – how to match them perfectly” provide information on how to make sure your screen work is ergonomic and healthy. 

Contact lenses for computer work 

Of course you can also wear contact lenses for computer work. However, these may not be as comfortable as wearing glasses. That’s because we tend to blink less when we’re concentrating on our work. This means that tear fluid is not distributed over the eyes as often, so the eyes are not moistened sufficiently and dry out. For some, this means that contact lenses are perceived as foreign bodies and so they can feel uncomfortable. 

If you can’t do without contact lenses, you should use silicone hydrogel lenses. These allow more oxygen to pass through the lens to the eyes and protect against drying out. Opticians and contact lens specialists can give you the best advice on which lenses to choose and deal with your special requests. 

There are even contact lenses that work in the same way as multifocal glasses. These are therefore suitable for people who are both short-sighted and long-sighted. Bifocal lenses are divided into two zones, with the upper part for distance vision and the lower part for near vision. Varifocal contact lenses are optimised for near vision (less than 0.5 metres), normal vision (0.5 to 2 metres) and distance vision (more than 2 metres). Once you get used to them, it’s usually possible to see perfectly well using these lenses. 

The disadvantage of this kind of contact lenses is the high price. The complex manufacturing process makes them twice as expensive as normal contact lenses. 

Find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of wearing glasses or contact lenses at work. 

Sources and further information

Federal Institute for Occupational Health and Safety: Good eyesight in the office Glasses and screens – how to match them perfectly.

Glasses & visual aids: Multifocal contact lenses.

Südwestdeutscher Augenoptikerverband (an association of opticians in South-West Germany): Consumer information on computer glasses.

Employer's Liability Insurance Association for statutory accident insurance: Health in the office – Questions and answers.