P.O.G.’s computer lenses are custom-made and meant for vision from 3 ft. to 7 ft.
With an optional Crizal Prevencia coating, Essilor’s lenses block out the blue light from computers and tablets.
PCWide from Seiko is a no-line progressive with two zones.
Shamir Computer is an occupational lens designed for those who work on a computer all day.

A slew of new lenses and treatments protect patients’ eyes from electronic device overload.

Many lens makers now offer lenses made for distances inside of 20 ft., what you might call an “office environment.” These lenses work well for computer and digital devices such as smartphones and tablets, and as an occupational lens in the office environment. With such an expanding category, it’s worth reviewing what’s available.

The offerings are broken into two parts: the lenses themselves, and the coating or composition. The lenses use progressive power technology’s seamless intermediate and near areas, with no distance component; or a hybrid that’s mostly an intermediate lens with a small bump of power on the bottom to help with reading. If there’s a distance element at all, it’s a thin band-just enough so someone can walk down the hall or see a whiteboard during a meeting.

Lenses designed for computer or smartphone viewing ease not only someone’s back and neck but also the workload of the six muscles in the eye. “Our eyes are relaxed when looking at a distance,” explains Michael Vitale, lens division liaison for The Vision Council, noting that our eyes work harder to focus when looking at items up close. “As we get older, the lens in our eye becomes less pliable and the muscles become weaker. Therefore, you need some near vision correction to help focus on items up close.”

Computer lenses are designed at Precision Optical Group (P.O.G.), specifically for people to use while sitting at their computers and at no other time, says Shannon Waigand, vice president of sales and marketing. “You’ll see to about 3 ft. to 7 ft. You can see your computer fine. You can see your paperwork fine. You may be able to see the clock on the wall, but that’s going to be a stretch.”

P.O.G. lenses are custom-made from a single vision blank designed to be free-form. P.O.G’s software calculates what the patient will need based on the Rx already prescribed. The lab also offers special coatings. The new DES coating keeps out the UV rays from overhead fluorescent lighting, for example, and the HEV rays from computers’ pixilated digital background. “Handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets emit an extra UV,” Waigand notes. “It’s causing migraines and neck strain.” The zero-glare DES, which includes a traditional UV coating, can reduce both UV and bad blue light to less than 1%, explains Waigand.

Doctors will benefit along with patients, Waigand adds. “They’ll sell a second pair of glasses,” she states. “And they’re not ridiculously expensive.”

The Eagle PC progressive lens from FEA Industries, Inc. is balanced for looking at the monitor and reading, while Eagle Workplace is a similar option with some distance. For the ultimate protection, patients and doctors can choose BluTech Lenses rather than polycarbonate, plastic, or glass. BluTech fends off UV light and high-energy blue light, says Bill Heffner, IV, IT and marketing manager.

Patients have to accept that BluTech lenses have an amber color. Also, blue light-blocking AR treatments can take on a “kind of blueish hue because they reflect the blue light away from the lens,” states Heffner, calling them, “occupational, like wearing safety glasses.” They’re for patients “concerned about eye health as opposed to having a stylish frame.”

Online Wide from Nikon Optical USA, Inc. comes in four options ranging from “near only” to “from near to far.” Its SeeCoat Blue and SeeCoat Plus coatings absorb harmful blue light rays. There’s even a version in Transitions to benefit patients who move from indoors to out.

Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc.’s Officelens is a trio of customized options called Book, Desk, and Room. (For more information on these lenses, see “Lenses for a Better Day at the Office“).

Both “Visual Fatigue Solutions” from Essilor of America, Inc.-designed for patients with all ranges of correction-begin with computer lenses that focus on three zones. The Computer Lens is designed for patients already wearing glasses for near- or farsightedness, whatever the prescription, including progressives and bifocals.

“The Anti-Fatigue lens is for people who don’t wear glasses at all or who wear a simple single vision lens,” asserts Pierre Bertrand, vice president, product marketing. “It combats eye fatigue with a reading power boost that’s almost not noticeable-just enough to boost your eyes so they don’t tire from looking down.”

Essilor’s Visual Fatigue Solutions lenses are clear and an included no-glare treatment cuts down on glare from the screen and overhead lights. Patients can upgrade to Essilor’s Crizal Prevencia™, available for all its lenses. Crizal Prevencia “selectively blocks the harmful blue light and UV, which can cause macular degeneration and cataracts, while still allowing in the beneficial blue light that’s healthy for people’s sleep cycles and moods,” notes Bertrand.

Traditional computer lenses from HOYA Vision Care, North America are progressives called Tact, and they come in fitting positions EP40 and EP60. “Tact lenses are good for intermediate and near work, plus visually intense work or hobbies,” says Heather Padgett, national marketing manager. The Sync line, by contrast, is what Padgett calls “a single-vision lens with a twist.” At the very bottom is a .55 or a .88 area that “basically gives a little bump of add power.” HOYA offers treatments that may have blue light protection, including its “second generation blue light solution” called Recharge. HOYA has also formed an alliance with BluTech to offer a range of lens designs, materials, and treatments to independent ECPs.

The Shamir Computer lens from Shamir Insight, Inc. is an occupational lens designed for those who work on a computer all day and others who “focus on small environments, such as jewelers,” explains director of marketing Candice Keating. “The design-one area for looking at the monitor, the other for looking at items on the desk-works for reading materials up to 5 ft. away, and for those, like graphic designers, who use multiple monitors.” Those wanting to block harmful blue light rays might add BluTech.

Receptionists and others who move from a computer to, say, a fax machine might prefer Shamir Workspace. This lens provides distance up to 10 ft. It’s available in several materials and indexes like 1.50, 1.56, 1.60, poly, and Trivex material, says Keating. It can also be ordered in polarized and in Transitions.

Jason Kvam, supervisor of technical product services, calls Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc.’s PCWide, a “true computer lens.” The lens is a no-line progressive with only two zones: a wide area for reading and a wide intermediate area for looking at a desktop monitor. It’s mathematically designed, calculated for the patient being 50cm, or barely 20 in., away from the monitor, and 35cm, or just under 14 in., from the keyboard and reading materials. “Doctors don’t need to take separate measurements,” Kvam explains. “Those are the default, although we can adapt the distance for the patient.”

Like all of Seiko’s free-form digital progressive lenses, its computer lens has all the power on the back, closer to the eye. “That provides a wider field of vision and it offers less swim and sway,” he says.

PCWide is available in all lens materials. “That’s for people who might be out by the pool reading or using a laptop,” he notes. The Trivex material, high-index plastic, or polycarbonate Transitions lenses screen out UVA and UVB rays, and UV protection can be added to CR-39.

If you offer arm’s length lenses to patients, you may be doing them an occupational favor.

Rona Gindin is an Orlando-based freelance writer specializing in business, restaurants, and travel.

Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc.
Essilor of America, Inc.
FEA Industries, Inc.
HOYA Vision Care, North America
Nikon Optical USA, Inc.
Precision Optical Group (P.O.G.)
Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc.
Shamir Insight, Inc.

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