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Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users? 464

An anonymous reader writes I'm a daily, all-day computer user and use two 19-inch monitors for my work. I'm at the age now where I need reading glasses, and my optometrist steered me to progressive lenses. I don't need any correction for distance, only reading. I'm trying very hard to get used to them, but I hate them. The focal point seems to be about 1 inch big, with everything around that blurry. Reading books on my iPad is a struggle; I have to turn my head side to side simply to keep the line of text in focus, and when I do that, the page warps and flow in a dizzying manner. I don't think reading should be like watching a tennis match. And using my two monitors at work? Hopeless and frustrating! Has anybody here who uses either very large or multiple computer monitors figured out how to comfortably use progressive glasses? Or are they simply inappropriate for this kind of use?
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Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

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  • if it doesnt work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:00PM (#48718471) Homepage
    dont use it. Now pay my secretary
    • dont use it. Now pay my secretary

      Really. If you only need glasses for reading, then get a $2 pair of reading glasses and only use them when you read.

      More generally, if your glasses are not helpful when using a computer, then, while using a computer, TAKE THEM OFF.

      • Re:if it doesnt work (Score:5, Informative)

        by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:26PM (#48718797) Homepage Journal

        With proper, prescription lenses, the lenses are designed to accommodate your eyes. That means you may have a +0 (non-corrective) and a +0.25 or a +1.75 and +1.25. Interpupiary distance is also important: poorly-centered lenses are the cause of painful headaches. All in all, prescription lenses, even prescription reading glasses, are vastly superior to off-the-shelf bifocals.

        I got transition lenses in a single-focus design, and I hate them. They're fantastic, except when they get dirty every 5 minutes, get a burrito shoved into them (they're further from my face than my eyes are), or cause my eyes to water. I plan to have contact lenses fitted; this will be more annoying at first, but will have the incredible advantage of being cleaned every 11 seconds, as well as providing a larger field of view. Silicone soft lenses transmit enough oxygen to safely use them for 30 days straight, rather than removing them at night time; I can elect to remove them at night if desired, but I'll still minimize the risk of complications by providing oxygen permeability similar to not having lenses.

        Optometry is hard. Some of us are decisionary maximizers, so it's hard even being the patient!

        • Re:if it doesnt work (Score:5, Informative)

          by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:56PM (#48719153)

          Yeah, but contact lenses won't work for close-up stuff. Contacts are for when your eyes are the wrong shape; the reason older people can't read well is because their intraocular lenses are no longer flexible and they can't focus on close-up things. Contacts won't help with that; if you put contacts in to correct that, you won't be able to see anything farther than arms' reach. And unlike bifocals/progressive-lens glasses, you can't really orient contacts so that a region with different correction is at the bottom.

          • That sounds like a problem I'll have later, and not the problem I have now.
          • by voidptr ( 609 )

            And unlike bifocals/progressive-lens glasses, you can't really orient contacts so that a region with different correction is at the bottom.

            I don't use them specifically and couldn't tell the OP if they would help their specific situation, but there are bifocal contacts on the market now. I do use toric astigmatism lenses in one eye which are similar, they're designed in a way that causes them to settle into a certain "up" and "down" orientation when installed.

        • Optometry is hard

          Totally agree. I also happen to have been in the OP's position.

          I too went down the progressives route when I had began to have more trouble reading. They were great for books where the near focus area was well designed, but for computer use all they do is give a clearer view of the keyboard.

          Now I have reading glasses and regular glasses. If I have a long day at the screen, I'll be wearing my reading glasses. I can still use them during breaks as there's not a a great difference in my readin

      • More generally, if your glasses are not helpful when using a computer, then, while using a computer, TAKE THEM OFF.

        You said that wrong . It should be:

        More generally, if your glasses are not helpful when using a computer, then, while using a computer, . . .

        TAKE THEM OFF.

        YEEEEAAAAAAAHHH!!!!! []
      • by TWX ( 665546 )

        More generally, if your glasses are not helpful when using a computer, then, while using a computer, TAKE THEM OFF.

        I wish I'd been smart enough to have figured this out during my teenage years. Got glasses at twelve for being barely nearsighted, but kept wearing them when doing up-close tasks like reading and using the computer. I think my eyes got lazy with the correction and I made my vision worse. In the last few years I've started taking them off when indoors when I'm going to work on an arms-length

    • Re:if it doesnt work (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:22PM (#48718743) Homepage Journal

      AC author should go to his nearest CVS (or rite-aid or whatever) and pick up a cheap pair of reading glasses to try. Hell, you can find some at your local $0.99 store. Test them out for reading.

      I opted for a pair of Birth Control Glasses (as my wife calls them). They basically look like 'Santa' or 'Ben Franklin' glasses. Little half-sized rectangular lenses that sit at the tip of my nose most of the time. I just look over them for EVERYTHING except reading. When I sit down to work or read a book I push them back up to the bridge of my nose and read comfortably. They ran me something like $4. For "events", I have a normal looking pair of bi-focal glasses (not progressive). They are just clear glass on top and 1.25 mag on the bottom (those I spent ~$40 -- they are also transition lenses). They look decent for weddings and parties where I wont embarrass my wife (heh).

      The reason why *I* opted for this is because I HATE taking glasses on/off all the time. This works for me. You might find that glasses with some type of string or cord that hangs at your neck works for you. Or glasses you hang on your collar when you aren't reading/working works for you. The point is that there are cheap alternatives and it's easy to test.

      I've also tried progressives and don't have a problem with them -- you just need to learn to use your neck in place of your eye muscles. Tilt replaces eye focus. I prefer my little glasses right now, but I may move to progressives eventually.

      • by Holi ( 250190 )

        Your wife calls wire frames BCD's?

        BCD's or BCG's are not wire frames by any stretch, See here [].

        • BCGs were popularized by the massive, rugged glasses issued for free in the military, but, by definition, they're any glasses that will ensure that nobody will want to procreate with you. BCGs come in many styles, but they're all incredibly ugly.

      • Re:if it doesnt work (Score:5, Informative)

        by qubezz ( 520511 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @03:34PM (#48719495)

        Reading glasses, those off-the-shelf from a rack with a positive prescription, are not for those that need prescription glasses. They are for older individuals who still can focus at distance, but who have lost the muscles and lens plasticity to focus their eyes on closer objects.

        The eye becomes able to focus on a smaller range of distances in older age, and for a person with good vision who has not needed prescription glasses, this might mean they can focus from infinity to 100 cm instead of infinity to 10 cm of their youth, making reading a book difficult.

        The majority of those needing prescription glasses are myopic, or short-sighted, meaning that they can focus well on close objects, but cannot bring far objects into focus with their eye's lens. They will never be able to see far objects such as the stars clearly without optical correction. Unfortunately, after correcting the vision with prescription glasses, the same problem also occurs in older age, individuals can no longer bring closer objects into focus while wearing prescription glasses.

        Simply taking the glasses off allows for seeing close objects again, but is suboptimal. First, the prescription glasses likely also correct for astigmatism, another type of distortion in the eye's lens or shape. Secondly, uncorrected vision in people that are quite myopic, such as myself at over -4, means that I can read a book when held a bit closer than would seem normal, but cannot focus on 2x24" monitors when they are 0.5m away, computer monitors are too far away to see. I would travel the world in a bubble where only things 15" or closer can be seen without glasses.

        When the eye's lens becomes less plastic in older age, this may mean that the 0.5m monitor can neither be seen cleary with traditional prescription glasses or without correction. A second pair of glasses could be tuned for things 0.5m-5m away

        The problem with bifocals and progressive lenses is that they assume you are looking down to see close objects. For those that do close-up work, from SMD soldering repair to dentistry as well as individuals working in front of monitors, they are not a good solution, as the work is directly in front of the eyes.

        One practical solution for computer work is 40" 1080p monitors at a farther distance. This takes research when subsituting a television, because many HDTVs that one might try to use at 1920x1080 do not have clear 1 to 1 pixels as advertised, even with digital input.

        • by crath ( 80215 )

          The problem with bifocals and progressive lenses is that they assume you are looking down to see close objects...

          I wear progressive lenses and they work very, very well with my laptop + external monitor setup. The key is properly positioning the monitors. Yes, the monitor needs to be lower than you may have positioned it prior to needing reading glasses; but, it's really not a problem to position the laptop and external monitor to accommodate this.

    • I've never been nearsighted, but I've now needed reading glasses for a decade due to age. Some astigmatism, plus slightly different magnifications for one eye than the other. What works well for me is to have my optometrist prescribe one set of glasses for computer use (with the focus distance set for computer distance, which is longer than the book-reading distance that standard reading glasses focus on), and a combination of drugstore glasses and older computer glasses scattered around the house and car

  • Optometrist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:01PM (#48718479)

    What did your optometrist say when you asked these questions?

    • Indeed.

      You should be querying your optometrist, who recommended these glasses, not random strangers on /.
      • Re:Optometrist? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thechemic ( 1329333 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:09PM (#48718585)

        He likely paid more for the progressive lenses, and as a result, the optometrist also made more money. Therefore, any professional opinions provided by the optometrist are going to be biased by the money involved. In fact, money is probably the reason he ended up receiving a product he didn't need or want in the first place.

        I was sold the same bottle of snake oil when I was 40. Asking his optometrist these questions is the last thing you would want to do.

        • Re:Optometrist? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Rob Riggs ( 6418 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:27PM (#48718807) Homepage Journal
          This is "the boat payment is due" theory of medical and automotive malpractice first postulated by Click and Clack, the Tappet Bros. This was later bolstered in a recent landmark article in JAMA []. The upshot is when the doctor is away and unable to schedule unneeded costly procedures, the patient is more likely to survive. The corollary is that the doctors have their best interest in mind, not the patient's.
          • You totally massacred the recent research that was in the news, and muddled it together with other random stuff from your past reading. Sorry gramps.

          • It can depend. When my mother (an optometrist) first prescribed progressives for me, she had my best interests in mind. Money wasn't an object because I got my glasses for free. However, she was going by optometric best practices -- which were set when 'standard' distances were far away (20 foot nominal focus distance) and arm's length (reading). Computer work doesn't fit neatly into those best practices. It was a long discussion with her, and money had absolutely no part to do with anything.

            Your res

        • by Dragon Bait ( 997809 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:41PM (#48718977)

          Therefore, any professional opinions provided by the optometrist are going to be biased by the money involved.


          The second to the last optometrist that I went to insisted that I get trifocals. I insisted that I wanted a single focal point with the focal point set for the computer monitor. He huffed and puffed and finally gave me a single prescription -- with a focal point about 20 feet away. The bastard. He knew what I wanted and decided to screw me over so that I would have to come back. I didn't; I went elsewhere.

          I must admit that I read his obituary with great glee.

        • I'm glad my optometrist is experienced and not stupid. He recommended I not use glasses just yet, as I can get by without them; I told him I'm most interested in whether there's a quality-of-life improvement. There is: I can see things just fine without glasses due to my visual system reassembling the multitude of images it receives (I get two images in each eye, divergent based on distance, due to misshapen eyes); but the glasses make things... so... so real, and clear, and crisp. Instead of knowing wh

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:33PM (#48718877)

      I got progressives 20 years ago and it has taken some learning to get best use. Here are alternatives:

      1. Get simple, fixed focus lenses for screen work. This is the absolute best vision quality.

      2. The big tip: Forget about stylish narrow lenses. They don't have enough vertical space for progressives to work well.

      3. The really big tip: Make sure that your optician doesn't set your normal vision spot too low on the lens. That crams all the progression in the bottom third of the lens. My normally head position is slightly "chin up". I make sure I'm looking at the optician slightly "chin down" has he places the mark on the lens for normal vision.

      Presbyopia is hell.

      • I got progressives 20 years ago and it has taken some learning to get best use. Here are alternatives:

        1. Get simple, fixed focus lenses for screen work. This is the absolute best vision quality.

        2. The big tip: Forget about stylish narrow lenses. They don't have enough vertical space for progressives to work well.

        3. The really big tip: Make sure that your optician doesn't set your normal vision spot too low on the lens. That crams all the progression in the bottom third of the lens. My normally head position is slightly "chin up". I make sure I'm looking at the optician slightly "chin down" has he places the mark on the lens for normal vision.

        Presbyopia is hell.

        This is a perfectly reasonable approach - I have a pair of bifocals for computer / workbench stuff. It focuses out to about 30 inches with a stronger bifocal than I usually use for reading (the better to pick out little tiny parts off the work bench). The only problem is that they had the same frame as my regular bifocals so for the first week I ran around confused as to why my eyes worked sometimes and sometimes not. A bit of the old tape cured that issue.

        I tried progressives - couldn't stand them. Bar

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:03PM (#48718493)

    Just as you, on "expert" advice I got some progressives...hate them. The "sweet spot" is just too small.

    I now have a pair just for screen work; much, much better.

    Thinking of getting laser corrective surgery, then will need a pair just for close reading.

    • That's what my wife and I did. Cheap glasses from Zenni. Get 2 or 3 pairs and you can have some laying around for where you need them. I have a pair at home and at work.

    • I decided LASIK is sub-optimal due to high risk of complications. If you get the wrong strength contacts or glasses, you change them; if you get LASIK and your eyes get worse, you can't re-LASIK them. You're burning off part of the cornea, which means you get one shot; and it's minimally possible that heat stress will damage your cornea, which is an non-mitigatable risk, and will destroy your vision permanently.

      My final solution is probably going to be contact lenses. I have found glasses sub-optimal, a

      • FWIW my Lasik came with lifetime free adjustments so I can have them touched up if I ever need to, but after 15 years I still have perfect vision.

        I was very hesitant because of all of the corrections they were doing. I really really wanted to have one eye done, and wait a few months for the other one, but they told me they only do that in rare cases, and not to worry.

        The average time the laser is on for a normal person is about 6 - 8 seconds, and I needed almost 60 seconds per eye. I was terrified that some

    • My "expert Optometrist" (who is in bed with the frame & lens supplier next door ( pick your favorite )) also did the same thing. Even after I told her that I "stare" at multiple 21" monitors for 12-18 hours a day, and rely heavily on the use of my peripheral vision, and eye movement. She, at some point, babbled on about how I'm going to need bi-focals, but that progressives would be better... bla... bla... bla. So, taking the attitude, Dr. knows best, I stupidly got the progressives. I like you, had the
  • I'm mainly near sighted, but had been using bifocals. That was very annoying when trying to see a monitor while standing higher than the monitor. Had to get new glasses a year ago so I went with progressives. The place I got them said I could return them within one month if I didn't like them. At first they were very annoying, but after a little over a week I got used to them and now they're great. They work fine for me with multiple monitors. But everyone is different and some people never can get us

  • I sit in front of a computer pretty much from the moment I wake up to the moment I go back to bed and I've been wearing progressive lenses for about a year now. The correct for both close up and distance.

    At first it was a major hassle as I found myself moving my head more and actively trying to find the correct 'sweet spot' for whatever I was looking at.

    I really don't have a problem with them now, I thnk it took about a month for me not to notice the additional head movement.

    It might be worth going back to

  • Get bifocals (or a 2nd pair, just for computer use). As you've discovered, progressives have a very small "sweet spot."
    • I was supposed to get bifocals my optometrist looked at me like I was growing horns and a tail when I told him to write me a prescription for reading and a prescription for everything else.
  • by evenmoreconfused ( 451154 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:05PM (#48718519)

    After about ten years of struggling with this I've settled on two 27" 1920p monitors, using broad but low +1.5 glasses that I can peer over when I glance at anything else in the room. I can actually work with the monitors without the glasses as long as Chrome is set to 125% zoom, but it's slightly more comfortable with the glasses, since I can then use the default fonts for virtually everything.

    • I think you will find yourself spending less time reading without the glasses, as fatigue is a very real, and unconscious factor in our sensory spectra. Please, as a favor to me as well as to your overall stress level, use your glasses!

      Love, Mom.

  • Go to the drug store and get some $2.50 standard set in the minimum strength so that you can read the monitors. Try them out.
  • by Scareduck ( 177470 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:06PM (#48718541) Homepage Journal

    I suspect you have a very high correction. My corrections are +1.50 and +1.75 or thereabouts, and I have had progressive lenses for years. They work fine without the problems you describe. My wife, however, has corrections of around +8.0 in both eyes and could never make a go of progressive lenses for the reasons you state. Eventually, she decided on Lasik surgery, which has unfortunately not really gone well -- we're over six months out from the initial surgery and she still needs glasses. She's one of the 1% or so for whom it does not work on the first try.

    Good luck.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I know 5 people who did the laser stuff and 4 of them are under the "1%". Dry eyes or constant pain etc.. Only one of them has no problem.

  • So you're asking us how to use the worst available tool for a task... better?

    • Sorry if that came off a bit harsh, but it should be fairly obvious that multifocal lenses are not suited for viewing objects at a fixed distance. Everyone I know with 'progressive' lenses dislikes them; they find them disorienting and only wear them because they want a single pair for all purposes and hate the look of bifocals.

      Your eyes are not something to be trifled with; get a pair of proper conventional lenses that suit the distance you will be working at and save yourself the misery of 90% of your vis

  • by jsrjsr ( 658966 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:07PM (#48718563)
    I have a pair of bifocals (non-progressive, as I don't wear them often). My opthamologist recommended normal bifocals over progressives as I usually wear contacts (only need glasses for reading). He said that the progressives take quite a while to get used to.

    I use a single-prescription pair of reader glasses (-1.5) for computer work -- and they are less than what I use for reading books and newspapers (-2.0) as I usually sit further from the monitor than I hold printed material for reading. My opthamologist recommended the cheap ones from the drug store as opposed to a custom made pair. He said that's what he generally recommends unless someone has a dramatic difference between eyes.
  • When I got my progressives I was put in front of a machine that analyzed the way I look at things, some people apparently move their eyes and heads in different proportions - the machine put up various targets at the periphery of my vision and used cameras to look at my eye and head movements which was then factored into my prescription. These glasses are the best I've ever owned and I use a computer with multiple large monitors every day. I'd say you need a different progressive lenses with a wider fie

  • Custom progressives (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SemperUbi ( 673908 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:08PM (#48718577)
    I feel your pain. I wear progressives, and for my first pair, the optimal focal area was ridiculously small just as you describe. A couple of years ago I went to a new optometrist and explained that I wanted glasses that had a more natural feel for close viewing. That 'spot' effect isn't there, and I love them.
  • by Anna Merikin ( 529843 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:08PM (#48718579) Journal

    I had a similar problem with bifocals. My optometrists and I settled on a pair of glasses for working on my desktop computer which were corrected to three feet, my usual distance from my monitor. I find they are also useful for reading off paper, too.

    See your doctor for a single-vision prescription for the distance from which you use your monitor.

  • You can get reading glasses for less than twenty dollars that will work much better for computer work. I tried progressive glasses and had the same problems, after I lost the progressive glasses I grabbed a pair of reading glasses and it was so much better that I couldn't bring myself to replace the progressive glasses. When they start to show wear I replace them with another pair of reading glasses.

  • That is why I have single vision computer glasses and single vision reading glasses in addition to my progressive lenses. When at work with my dual monitor setup, I use the computer pair, and just exchange for my progressives when I need to read or move about the building. At home when I read an ebook reader or other reading material for more than a few minutes, I will use the reading pair. If I am using my laptop on my lap, I frequently dispense with glasses all together. Progressive lenses do take a b
    • I guess I'm lucky. I have single-vision glasses that correct for all distances.
      • by cruff ( 171569 )

        I guess I'm lucky. I have single-vision glasses that correct for all distances.

        That was my case too, until, *GASP*, my eyes got older along with the rest of my body. :-) Even though I had successful LASIK surgery done to correct almost -6 diopter near sightedness, I eventually needed slight astigmatism and reading corrections after about 8 years of glasses-free freedom.

  • by Radical Moderate ( 563286 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:14PM (#48718661)
    I'm not a big fan of progressives either. Got a couple pairs last year, but as I type this I'm wearing my old glasses, I find they're better for computer work.
  • ...I was prescribed glasses for being short-sighted. After a few months of wearing these, I found my eyesight got worse and worse so I stopped wearing them.

    I sort of trained myself to get around it* - and here I am now with still the same short-sightedness (usually first thing in the morning after getting up, or in bright sunshine on the street). But my eyes haven't got any worse since.

    Try not to wear glasses but compensate - otherwise your glasses compensates your eyes and they will get lazy - and
    • Your eyes learn to relax, instead of straining. My body retains multiple context profiles for everything, so my vision without glasses isn't any worse; but I do notice my eyes straining without them, whereas they're very relaxed (and vision is greatly improved) with them.
  • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) * on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:23PM (#48718757) Journal

    I have the same problem as the OP with age related astigmatism and my optometrist suggested progressive lenses. One thing my optometrist was clear to point out was the limitations of the cheaper progressive lenses, where the area in focus was narrow. More expensive lenses offered a much wider field of view, which is what I purchased, but they weren't cheap at $800. The only downside to the lenses I bought was significant barrel distortion on the extreme edge of the lens.

    For general use I love my progressives as I can drive and read with the same pair of glasses. I do keep several pairs of general reading glasses around for reading and computer use.

    This site has a great comparison, at least for Nikon lenses: []

  • The standard recommendation to reduce eye fatigue when using a computer screen is to stare off into the distance every so often. By using reading glasses, and with the right diopter, you can let your eyes focus as if looking into the distance while still focusing on your screen.

    This has notably reduced eye fatigue for me.

    If you wear contacts or don't need any correction, I recommend getting +1.5 diopter reading glasses if you sit a couple feet from your monitor, and less if you sit further. To test it out,

  • I've been near-sided all my life, and as I get older my vision has slowly become even more near-sided. I've tried progressives but frankly my prescription is already strong enough that I have to go with plastic multi-layered lens and the distortion at the edges is noticeable with just the normal lenses. Progressives? Total fail.

    What I do instead is simply ask my doctor to soften the prescription a bit. So my distance viewing isn't quite as good (and I couldn't read small text on a T.V. screen from 10 fe

  • If progressives don't work, don't use them. They're not for everybody.

    I bit the bullet last time I got new glasses and got progressives. My requirement was well-defined: I'm near-sighted, wear glasses when I need them (driving, flying) but with age I was experiencing eyestrain trying to read charts during flights, particularly at night. At first I found I was moving my head around a lot to find the sweet spot, but now that I've figured that out, I'm fine.

    I don't use glasses for computer stuff. Set the m

  • I love my progressives. When I used to have dual monitors they were near a window which I used to look out of often, switching from close to far vision. I remember the wavy distortion and the slight feeling of disorientation when i first went progressive (especially when walking), but it didn't last very long for me, and I loved the option of distance clarity too much to give it up. Single vision lenses are definitely clearer, with a larger field of vision, for reading. I have reading glasses, but I find I

  • This is what I do. I am still relatively young, but I have an astigmatism (I need a cylindrical correction in both of my eyes, simple reading glasses don't work for me).. I have one set for normal use to see clearly at a distance, and another set that just corrects for the astigmatism for reading & computer use. This is much easier on my eyes for long coding sessions. I highly recommend getting the AR (anti-reflective) coating for both sets of glasses. Monitor glare is pretty noticeable otherwise.


  • by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:30PM (#48718839)

    I wear progressives as well and they are terrible for computer use. I have to tilt my head way back to focus on that little sliver at the bottom of the lens - and then move my head from side to side across the screen. After about an hour of that I was getting a stiff neck. So now I have two pair. One pair of progressives for everyday use and a second pair that are focused for about arms length that I use for the computer.

    It's a bit of a hassle changing them back and forth but it's better than what it was before.

  • I have progressives for every day use. My eyes have gotten bad enough that I can't read my car's dash insturments without them.

    I spend 10+ hours a day in front of a computer and if I do that in progressives I end up with a very sore neck. So I told my optometrist I needed a prescription for "computer glasses". These are single focus with astigmatism correction but not quite the full strength of a reading correction. This of course makes them useless for just about everything else.

  • by Jeff Flanagan ( 2981883 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:31PM (#48718851)
    I could not get used to them, so I went back to regular lenses.

    It sounds like you may need regular glasses just to wear for close work.

    For those of us who are near-sighted, we just need to wear glasses when driving or watching TV, and take them off for close work. I suspect you could do the opposite. If not, maybe you need two sets of glasses, one for close work, and another to see clearly at a distance.
  • I had progressive trifocals for a while. I kept them for a couple get used to them. But, the last time I got a new prescription, I told my doctor that I didn't really think I needed them. He agreed. I'm back to normal lenses, and saved a bunch of money.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Like you, I used a pair of progressive glasses and hated them. When it came time to replace them, I got the optometrist to write out three prescriptions:

    1. Distance use as in driving or moving about.

    2. Medium-distance for computer displays

    3. In close for reading and reading only.

    Three single-vision glasses have proved far better than those progressive lenses. If money is tight, look into buying them online.

  • by Burdell ( 228580 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:36PM (#48718907)

    I'm lucky enough to still have great eyesight at age 42 (still use the good old-fashioned 6x13 aka "fixed" font in my xterms on my 108 dpi monitor).

    However, my mother got progressives at one point, and wore them for a very short time before replacing them. She plays church organ, and has to be able to see music, keys, stops, and (optionally) the choir director. Different organs have different numbers of keyboards (called manuals), and with more manuals, the music stand just gets farther up and farther away. She has different pairs of glasses for 2, 3, or 4 manual organs. She tried progressives, but they were terribly distracting; she also tried traditional bifocals, but they didn't really work either.

  • Progressives are useful as a mediocre one-size-fits all solution. If you are doing a lot of computer work, get a set of glasses specifically for that. If you can get away with just reading glasses, then get a single focus lens and take the bloody things off when you don't need them.

    • I have bi-focals. (a) Looking through the glass at far away things. (b) Looking over the glass, with the glasses halfway down my nose, when I'm at a computer.

  • I have progressive lenses and work on computers all day long. But my first pair were horrible! When I complained to my optometrist, he asked me to demonstrate where I held my book/phone for reading. He explained that my distance was not average, but that he could adjust the focal length to fit. The second pair of lenses was much better.

    Remember Knarfling's Universal Law of Individuality. "No one else is me!" Your optometrist usually makes a good guess at making your glasses fit your eyesight, but he is not

  • Get a pair of glasses just for your monitor distance. Problem solved.

  • I have progressives and don't mind them after getting used to them. I actually read better with no glasses, but if I have my arm about halfway extended, then things start getting fuzzy. I use my glasses for long distance and for looking at the monitor since it is about 2 feet away, anything closer (reading distance) I take off the glasses.

  • I don't have especially poor eye sight. I have worn glasses since I was a small child. But my prescription hasn't changed since I was 8. My eyes aren't that bad and these glasses are just part of my face at this point.

  • Here's what I've learned, and has been mentioned a few times before in this post already with different perspectives.

    I had the exact same experience as yours with my first set of bifocals. What solved my issues with it is getting what's called a computer grind on the lens. This type of grind widens the peripheral view while sacrificing a bit for reading paper based documents. Since I don't do anywhere as much book reading as I do computer, this was the perfect tradeoff.

    The computer grind in the industry

  • Do they have a built in "name-your-price" tool, or just find you the best rates on your car insurance?

    Alternatively, like rose-tinted glasses for liberals

  • You're looking up toward the monitor and down for close distance reading. The best combination I've found is mid-range for the main part of the lens and a small bifocal or progressive part at the bottom for reading.

    For strictly reading get a pair of grocery store reading glasses, no need to pay an optometrist for that. Actually you might get by with a lower diopter correction from the grocery store for computer use as well, but then you need to keep changing glasses for reading.

    And one last comment. If you

  • Use single vision (Score:5, Informative)

    by drkim ( 1559875 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @02:54PM (#48719121)

    Don't use progressives or bi-focals. Do this:

    Take a tape measure and measure the exact distance to your monitors when working.

    Go to an optometrist and get a written prescription for that exact distance (bring the tape measure with you*) including the "PD", pupillary distance, at that range. Do not buy the glasses from them.

    Go to Zenni Optical [] ...and order some $6.95, single vision prescription glasses from them that fit your PD size.
    Add the standard anti-reflective coating for $4.95

    For about $12 you have custom computer glasses.

    * Yes, I actually do this. And, yes; I'm a nerd.

  • by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @03:14PM (#48719305)

    Look at what happened here: You needed new glasses, your doctor suggests progressives, which you try and don't like. Then, instead of approaching your doctor about the issue, you post on /. instead. Maybe you're just looking for a second opinion, but it sounds like you're not comfortable talking to your doctor. You should find a doctor that you can bring up these issues with. Also, your doctor should have asked you about what you do all day (reading the iPad, using your computer) and offered you choices based off of your health and habits, not just your health alone. Just my two cents.

  • by ColoradoAuthor ( 682295 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @03:58PM (#48719709) Homepage

    Since you're on /., you probably will care to understand the Minkwitz relationship:
    deltaA/deltaX = 2 × deltaM/deltaY
    where A is the astigmatism created by the lens, M is the power of the correction provided by the lens, and X and Y are the usual coordinates. Thus progressive lenses always get blurry in direct proportion to the difference between your near and far correction, and in inverse proportion to the vertical distance between the near and far sweet spots.

    In practice, some advanced techniques such as grinding both sides of the lens and applying wavefront or raytracing optical simulations can make the problem less noticeable (mainly by moving the worst areas from one spot to another). Some brands of lenses are better than others, and some labs do a better job of making them than others. If you go for progressive ("PAL") lenses, ask to see the "occupational" lenses from several different manufacturers. Learn how to see the "invisible" manufacturing codes printed on your lenses.

    My solution at the moment: fixed-distance computer glasses, plus Hoya Summit iQ PAL lenses adjusted to increase the size of the reading zone a bit.

  • by Richard Kirk ( 535523 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:49AM (#48725011)

    Remember 1/object_distance + 1/image_distance = 1/focal_length ?

    If you have your screen at R meters away, add (1/R) to your lens strength in diopters. Diopters are 1.0/focal_length in meters. That will give you the same comfortable image_distance at your eye when looking at your screen.

    Suppose you have your monitor 0.5 of a meter away, and you use -5.0 diopter glasses because you are short-sighted. You add (1/0.5) = 2.0 to -5.0 diopters and get -3.0 diopters. The person who had -5.0 diopters and used -3.5 diopter lenses for computing work probably uses a screen 2/3 meters away. If you are short-sighted, the diopter values should get smaller in magnitude; if you are long-sighted, the diopter value will get bigger.

    Add 2 diopters if your screen is 50 cm away.

    Add 1.5 if your screen is 67 cm away.

    Add 1 if your screen is 1m away (a bit far, but maybe you have a big monitor)

    Hot damn, that school physics is actually good for something! Too bad they had to black out the lab to show us, and we all fell asleep. Now, all I need is some frictionless pulleys and massless string...

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984