Standard visual correction solutions for presbyopes and latent hypermetropes in Australia today are typically prescription readers or multifocals, with a few people insisting on hanging on to their bifocals. For most, one pair of spectacles is expected to do it all. How can we, as optometrists, change the mindset?
When we look at our lifestyles today, the first thing we notice is the many different needs for, and demands that we place on, our vision. Quite clearly, the widely held notion that one pair of spectacles can cope with them all is unrealistic, yet it is one that patients hang on to. Funny how shoes and clothes do not fall into the same category.
Many working environments, which are office based, involve meetings, desk work and computer work, all at variable distances. Computer work and digital devices are a significant part of many of our patients’ lives, requiring greater peripheral vision than progressives can provide, and in the case of reading glasses, a different prescription for optimal visual performance.
Technology changes mean consumers now have more options than ever before when it comes to experiencing better vision comfort and flexibility.
…it is important to consider the amount of time your professional patients spend working with their digital devices…
So why compromise vision and lifestyle when the opportunity exists to provide more specific and relevant solutions?
The way to do this is to understand the lifestyle needs of the patient sitting in the exam chair. This requires time spent questioning what their occupation is, how they spend their day, and then identifying the patient’s variable vision requirements. The key is to identify how often, the duration and the importance of any particular activity that requires a more flexible and specific solution.
Consideration also needs to be given to the patient’s prescription. Generally you will find most people fall into the following two categories:
The Single Vision Reader
Why do we persist in prescribing reading glasses? For most, the answer to this question would be habit and the past experience of consumers.
New extended reading lenses allow a much better solution for office workers and professionals. These lenses offer wider intermediate vision for computer use and meetings while still meeting reading vision requirements. The result is much less eye fatigue, better acuity, comfort and flexibility for the wearer. Taking more time to identify the patient’s visual demands, and relating this back to how extended reading lenses will improve their lifestyle, will result in successful uptake.
The Multifocal Wearer
Traditionally we prescribe multifocals of different designs for full time use, however patients would benefit with a pair of spectacles left in the office or used specifically for work. The reason is that the new occupational designed multifocals allow for wider intermediate fields of view and less peripheral distortion with a reduced need for postural adjustments. This results in a more comfortable working environment with less eye fatigue, which becomes even more important for professionals working with large monitors or dual monitors.
Again our role is to identify needs and match the available technology to fulfil those needs, to achieve improved visual outcomes and comfort.
Blue Light Protection
In addition to the lens design, it is important to consider the amount of time your professional patients spend working with their digital devices – not only computers and laptops but phones and tablets.
This is where the discussion needs to centre around the effect of blue light emitted by these devices, and the opportunity / need to reduce eye strain by adding a blue light coating to the lens.
By reducing the amount of blue light entering the eyes, contrasts are improved and screen brightness is reduced as is screen flickering and eye fatigue. The aim is to ensure a strain-free visual experience and to protect the eyes from possible harmful effects of this type of radiation.
As an industry we are slow to change and as a result so are our patients. By showing leadership we can improve the visual performance and lifestyle of our patients.