The Difference Between Computer & Reading Glasses

Not all glasses are made the same. There are some quite substantial differences when we talk about computer glasses and reading glasses or readers. It can sometimes be a little difficult to find out what you really need at a particular time.This simple guide can help you to fully understand your options for an eyeglass as well as when computer glasses are needed or when readers may be a better choice.      

What are computer glasses?

Computer glasses are prescription glasses intended to be worn when working or looking at a computer or any digital screens. This type of glasses will enable the user to focus their eyes on a computer screen which is much further away than you usually hold reading material. Certain activities require different types of glasses, too. For example, when playing piano (there are piano glasses) or shooting (there are shooting glasses). These kinds of glasses need specific custom fitting, though. These specialty glasses labelled task-specific are created to accommodate the activity's visual needs.

Bifocals are not specifically intended for computer work in general. They tend to cause the user to angle the head back to focus on the computer while looking through the bifocal lens' lower segment. Several individuals have either been leaning in or leaning back to find just the perfect spot in their lenses whereby they can best see. Such a constrained position may trigger pain in the neck and shoulder and could also result to pain in the arm and lower back.

There are many choices for choosing computer-specific glasses based on the vision and type of job of a person, such as:


Monofocal or single-vision computer glasses used when working in a computer will provide the correct optical adjustment for the working range between both the screen and the eyes of the computer user. This option permits users to view the entire screen with a minimum head movement.

The only disadvantage when going for this option is that distant things and reading materials nearer to the computer screen will look blurry.


Bifocal glasses are prescribed when the user needs to frequently use the computer both in a screen distance and reading distance. The upper segment is designed when being used in a screen distance and the lower segment, on the other hand, is for working nearer on the screen (at a reading distance).

This option's disadvantage is that things are blurry when it is farther away than the screen.In the peripheral area of vision, bifocal lenses also distort the image of an object. Segmented lenses, like the bifocals, have a smaller screen view area. This indicates that the viewing of all areas of the screen may involve more up-and-down head movements.


A trifocal glass has a lens that combines a segment for far-sightedness, another for near-sightedness, and a third which is for screen-distance vision - the distance between far and near segments. 

Just like with bifocal lenses, the viewing areas may also be limited.

Progressive Additional Lenses or PAL

Progressive Addition Lenses (PAL) provides vision continuity by eradicating lines around the different focal power segments. Nevertheless, due mainly to the line-free specification, there could be constrained areas of focus.

What are readers only glasses?

This type of glasses is mainly used by people who are more into reading material in a hard copy and not on a digital screen. The entire lens is designed to have magnification which enables users to read texts. It may or may not have a vision-corrector capacity. 

Computer Glasses versus Reading Glasses

Computer glasses are not advisable to be used when reading just like as reading glasses are not advisable to be used while using a computer. This is primarily because when working on a computer, the computer screen is a few inches further from your eyes, while reading a book or any reading material is usually much closer to the eyes. And if you add to that the blue light which is emitted by the computer screen, you have two settings which are quite distinct and therefore can lead to eye strain while using the glasses in ways that they were not intended to be used.

Choosing blue blocking glasses will allow you to have a computer experience which is much more pleasant, whereas when using readers can reduce strain in the eyes when reading books or physical files. Blue light glasses (sometimes integrated with a tinted prescription lens) can also help when someone has light sensitivity.

Typically, an eye examination will be the first step in assessing the sort of glasses you will need. It will perceive any significant problems you might have with your eyes, as well as make absolutely sure that you get the accurate magnification that you will need.

Computer Glasses can reduce eye strain as well as reduce the screen glare.

If you are spending an ample amount of time using a computer doing stuff on your tablet, smartphone, or any of your electronic devices, you may notice that after a while your eyes will get tired and/or is blurry. That is because the glare from all these screens will let your eyes work doubly harder for it to detect or see contrast. This light has often been referred to as the blue light and it may be very hard for your eyes to focus because of this. Experts suggest that you should always give your eyes a break often enough, like using the 20-20-20 rule or even just walking away for a little while.

Individuals whom are sensitive to light are generally more prone, however after extended use of any digital screen even individuals who have no issue with sensitivity to light will feel the impacts. This may well result to a headache, migraine, watery eyes, and several other discomforts.

Blue light computer glasses have such a unique anti-reflective coating or tint blocking the blue light, which in turn reduces the strain on the eyes. They may be prescribed or unprescribed. Many variants have a unique tint that, whilst also improving the contrast, removes the glare. These tinted lenses can effectively avoid computer-related headaches and a migraine.

Reading glasses (Readers) can bring even small prints into a full focus.

If you read printed books and notice that you are having trouble focusing or getting your eyes quickly tired, then readers might just be what you have to have. While computer glasses effectively deal with a screen's glare, all reading glasses are magnifying the print so that your eyes will not have to work so hard to read the print. Symptoms of eye strain include itchy and watery eyes. And it can even eventually lead to headache or migraine.

Reading glasses can sometimes be a prescription, particularly when you have astigmatism or any other issue with your eyes, although there are also over the counter magnification reading glasses. This can work just fine on most people. Readers have different magnification strengths which is used to categorize the lenses. You just have to figure out which one suit you best for you. Furthermore, such lenses do not have any kind of coating, so they will not protect the eyes from that of a computer screen's peculiar glare. When you buy prescription reading glasses, you can also get an anti-reflective coating which is good when using a computer and there is also another type that darkens instantly whenever they are subjected to bright lights.

Must knows about Blue Light and Blue Blocking Glasses

Blue Light

A long time ago, people were only exposed to blue light once they were out in the sun – this was way before computers and electronic devices became a must have in the daily life a person. Blue light exposure has increased significantly as technology is now becoming more and more embedded in a person's life thru the use of smartphones, tablet devices, computers and several other devices. The easiest way of reducing exposure to blue light is by limiting the time of usage of electronic devices, but this is not likely to take place. Apparently, blue light is also the reason that many individuals have difficulty falling asleep after spending a lot of time being on the computer or smartphone,. The brain is tricked into believing that it is daytime.

Effects of Blue Light exposure

There have been three areas in which there is a significant negative effect to a prolonged exposure to blue light.

  1. There would be eye strain and fatigued eyes.

The Digital Eye Strain Report of the Vision Council, released in 2016, reveals that more than thirty-four percent (34%) of adults suffer eye strain attributed to the use of digital devices. The association between eye strain and blue light is based on how the light behaves and how the eyes are reacting to it. Once blue light passes through the eye's lens, it moves in such a spray or scattered pattern along the front of the retina, generating a glare ora chromatic impact. With this pattern, the eye will have to work so much harder to process the light, and so the longer it is exposed, the harder it will have to work, and the more it gets fatigued and strained.


  1. Visual impairment is noticeable.


Blue light is not the same as Ultraviolet light. Blue light passes via the eye all the way up to the retina while UV light does not have this mechanism. Once this occurs, there is now a photo-oxidative response affecting the cells of the retina that tends to start when they have been hit by the blue light. This may result into an accumulation of toxins that may end up in a vision impairment.


  1. Causes sleep problems.


In the most natural state of a human being, sunlight helps to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. In addition, it is also the blue light that occurs naturally in sunlight which somehow triggers a chemical reaction that stops melatonin secretion and send a signal that it is the body's time to wake up. It is the melatonin that sends a signal that the body is now ready to go to sleep. Whenever a person is using their electronic device, the blue light emitted from the digital screen tricks the mind into thinking that it is still day time, thus there is no production of melatonin that occurs. It can cause problems with sleep as well as poor sleep quality.

How blue blocking glasses can help?

The unique coating on a computer glass lenses would either deflect or absorb the blue light. There are tinted lenses that deflect the blue light and it may appear blue or purple in color. They function just as what the name implies, they serve as a barrier that deflects the blue light between the eye and its source. Typically the lenses that absorb the blue light are yellow in color. They function as a barrier between the blue light source and the eye as well.

The Need for Eye Examinations

Eye specialists suggest having to undergo examination for the eyes once every year or two years. If you have not had an eye test in the past two years and have increasing trouble reading, blurry vision or any other eye-related symptoms, or perhaps a family history of eye or vision complications, it is really time to schedule an appointment for an eye exam.

Having to use a computer regularly (a few hours every day) is very pressing for the user's eyes. Eye specialists noticed a rising amount of the number of patients who complained about their vision problems which they can relate it due to the frequent use of their computers. We have what we call as the Computer-Related Vision Syndrome (CVS) or also known as the digital eye strain, which was thought up to pertain to computer-related and device-related visual problems like those of eyestrain, migraines, blurry vision, dry eyes, and shoulder and neck pain.

Due to the possible added stress on the eyes, eye specialists can sometimes recommend more frequent eye examinations for those who do daily computer works.


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