So, you need varifocals.
Perhaps you already have a pair?
But what are these so-called “office lenses” and should you get them?
Office lenses are a supplementary varifocal lens used to enhance close to intermediate tasks such as computer-work, reading and writing. They provide multifocal power for nearby tasks within 4m, thus making them very suitable for occupational work and domestic scenarios such as cooking.
So in today’s article I’ve listed the benefits of using office lenses for glasses and the reasons why they can help to improve your office work.
To begin, there are two main types of varifocal lenses you should know about.
Each have their pro’s and con’s which you can see in the section written below.
Everyday varifocals are used for all kinds of daily tasks to help you see at various focal distances.
They can be used for any of the three vision zones which are defined as close, intermediate or distance. This is a “one lens does all” which is handy if you want to avoid having multiple pairs of glasses.
Everyday varifocals are great for many scenarios, from close-reading notifications on your phone to distance-viewing the road when driving. A bit of a jack of all trades.
However, they aren’t so good for occupational tasks as they tend to have quite a narrow intermediate “corridor.” Looking through an everyday lens, there isn’t much lens-space for you to use when using a computer, reading or writing.
In the illustration below, you can see the functional focal area of an everyday varifocal lenses and it’s relatively narrow corridor.
But what are office progressive lenses?
Office lenses, also called occupational varifocals or office progressives, are intended as a supplementary varifocal lens.
Using your prescription, they’re recalculated and made specifically for intermediate and near distance tasks such as computing, reading and writing.
The drawback of occupational varifocals is they’re limited to a maximum intermediate distance of about 4m. You won’t be able to focus on anything beyond this distance which makes them completely unsuitable for driving.
This is why occupational lenses are always used a supplementary pair of glasses in addition to ones that can help you with distance viewing.
In the illustration below, you can see the benefits of a much broader intermediate corridor through occupational lenses.
Computer glasses are a mixed terminology.
In the context of varifocals, this is another phrase used for office or occupational lenses.
In the context of blue light blocking glasses, this refers to the use of an additional lens-coating which you can read more about here.
Sticking to varifocals, are progressive lenses good for computer work?
If you regularly work on a computer, investing in a second pair of office glasses fitted with occupational lenses can help you in a number of ways.
Office progressive lenses are specifically designed to maximise the amount of intermediate lens-area you can see through. They have a much broader focal corridor which can help improve your working comfort at your desk.
With an improved and enlarged intermediate lens-section, you won’t need to tilt your head backwards to see through the middle or bottom of your office lenses for screen work.
This is one of the biggest postural benefits of occupational varifocals as they can prevent the habit of tilting your head to see nearby objects such as your computer screen.
According to an article by Ergorisk, long durations of computer work with head-tilt can cause neck or back pain, potentially leading to further muscular implications.
In additional to postural benefits, you might want to consider the addition of an anti-blue light lens coating on your lenses.
For intensive screen-work, this add-on may help reduce the eye-strain experienced from long durations of screen-work. This is due to the HEV (high energy visible) light which emits from digital screens such as laptops, monitors and mobile phone screens.
As seen in the image below, HEV is part of the visible spectrum of light which emits from the sun and also from the screens of digital screens.
Whilst there isn’t any credible evidence to support the use of blue light blocking glasses, they are capable of absorbing blue light which may help to alleviate irritation and eye fatigue.
According to an article by the Optometry Times, the largest concern about the unknown effects of HEV light is the onset of premature aging of the eyes. Otherwise called macular degeneration.
Because we’re all spending so much time looking at screens, there’s a large question mark over the damage from prolonged screen exposure amongst young people and adults.
Due to their specific usage, progressive office lenses have their own set of disadvantages.
Cost: The stronger your prescription, the more likely you are to require a thinner lens with a higher refractive index. In basic terms, high index lenses are more efficient at refracting light which means they can be thinner and lighter than a standard index lens.
If you have a particularly strong sphere (SPH) in your prescription, you will benefit from a high index lens to prevent having cumbersome lenses which are heavy, thick and may protrude from the edges of your glasses.
As a rule of thumb, the higher the index, the higher the price of your lenses. This is the difference between standard and premium progressive lenses which is something to consider if you’re considering a second pair of glasses.
If you’d like a guide to help choosing the correct lens thinning option, click here.
Just for the office, occupational lenses are limited to close to intermediate visual tasks. Which for you, might seem a lot of money for a very specific pair of glasses. If you rely on good intermediate vision in order to do your job, office lenses may have to become part of your eyewear arsenal.
Two pair of glassesmay seem a little excessive but it’s a common solution if you struggle with close and distance visual focus.
Generally speaking, your near vision starts to show signs of deterioration at the age of 40 or so. This is due to the onset of presbyopia which inhibits your eyes to focus on close distance tasks like reading text messages on your phone.
Reading glasses are a good solution for this but are totally unsuitable for computer work. This is where a varifocal lens can help as they’re give you more focal capacity for multi-distance tasks.
Not for driving: Because office lenses are limited to a maximum distance of focus of about 4m or so, they are completely unsuitable for driving. Instead, you should consider a single vision lens for distance vision to aid you for this.
If you’re new to wearing varifocals, the costs can seem comparably high compared to other lens types. This is for three main reasons...
To summarise, office lenses can definitely help you.
At work, they can improve your working posture by improving your seated position whilst using your computer.
Office lenses are a good preventative for head-tilt, which is a common side-affect from using everyday varifocal lenses.
This is the most assured benefit of investing in occupational lenses if you’re willing to have a second pair of glasses to wear for near to intermediate vision tasks.
Less assuredly, office lenses with an anti-blue light coating is a secondary benefit which you can choose to have added to your office lenses. The evidence on the efficacy of this coating is still yet to be confirmed can give you piece of mind knowing you’ve made a step to reduce the effects of HEV light from your computer screen.
For 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, office lenses are arguably a worthy investment if you want to improve your visual working comfort. Outside of work, other near to intermediate tasks such as cooking can be improved thanks to a larger intermediate corridor.
Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful towards making your decision about office lenses. If you’d like to learn about the best ways to order varifocals online, you should check out my other helpful article which shows you how to do this.
Thanks for reading.
Four tips for ordering your varifocal glasses online. Get your lenses right, first time, every time, with this handy guide.