Digital lenses – designs prescribed for use with digital devices, computers and so on – are a growing category. Their applications range from occupational purposes, through to treatment of asthenopia and potentially even myopia control.
As eye care professionals, it’s our role to ensure that spectacles are appropriate to the task. Digital, occupational, stressrelieving lenses can help patients achieve clear, comfortable, binocular vision when working with screens and help reduce computer vision syndrome,1 which affects many computer users. Appropriate digital lens design and correctly fitted spectacles can also address postural, accommodative, convergence and field of view considerations.
Digital, occupational, stress-relieving lenses can help patients achieve clear, comfortable, binocular vision when working with screens, and help reduce computer vision syndrome
Even individuals who have not yet worn spectacles can enjoy the reduced digital device- related asthenopia that digital lenses offer.
When prescribing digital lenses, it is essential that you take into consideration the patient’s individual working distances. These vary considerably between users and the type of device used. For example, a younger person may hold their smartphone at 20cm whereas a presbyopic adult may hold their phone or tablet at 30 to 60cm.
A person working on a large screen computer may have their screen positioned as far as 80cm. Others may require variable working distances within the 20cm to 80cm range, and beyond. Working distance can also be influenced by a patient’s body type; typically those with shorter arms hold things closer than a person with longer arms.
For progressive lens wearers, a digital design that provides a wide field of vision and reduces excessive lifting of the chin and related neck and back problems, is advantageous. These wearers may be better off in a specific digital occupational design to cover their working range.
All of these variables provide the opportunity to engage your patients in discussions that address their specific needs and can even pave the way for prescribing multiple pairs of spectacles targeted to specific uses.
THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING BLUE LIGHT
The incorporation of blue blocking filters, often promoted as being a feature of digital lenses, is a controversial issue. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) recently issued a comprehensive Blue Light and Digital Screen Position Statement.2 In essence, the RANZCO statement concludes that “No evidence exists to suggest that normal environmental exposure to blue light, including from digital screen technology, causes damage to eyesight. Filtering out the blue light from screens is not necessary in general use. There may be a benefit to reducing screen time in the evening or using night-time settings on screens in the few hours before bedtime to reduce interruption to circadian rhythms. General measures to reduce symptoms of eyestrain include taking regular breaks and focussing on distance objects from time to time as well as ensuring spectacles, if worn, are appropriate for the task. It is recommended to consult a health care professional if symptoms of eyestrain persist.”
RANZCO is a respected body and their position papers consolidate opinions from some very smart practitioners and researchers. Contrast this with some of the marketing the public is exposed to, particularly online. One example is a website touting for business with a headline that screams: “Easy Steps to Buy Computer Glasses Online’. The website states, “From computers to smartphones, continuous use of digital screens can damage your eyes in a big way. Opt for computer glasses that is (sic) designed to shield your eyes against Blue-Violet Light, screen glare, irritation, strain and radiated rays”. It includes points on UV protection, blue block and protection from computer and mobile rays.3
THE TRUTH IS IN THE BALANCE
On this basis, when recommending digital designs to the majority of our symptomatic patients, do we also prescribe blue blocking filters? Well, I for one have been using blue blocking filters on all my occupational, progressive and sunglass lenses for some years now. I get the feeling my sleep patterns have improved and I probably still get ‘enough’ UV and blue light exposure. I use my computer, TV and iPhone screens in the early morning, late at night, and throughout the day. As RANZCO states, there is not much strong evidence to say that blocking blue light will protect the retina, or have any benefit beyond potentially reducing the effect of blue light on circadian rhythms. Conversely, there is however also no evidence, as far as I know, that partially blocking blue light can be harmful in any way. So I, like many fellow eye care professionals, continue to wear blue blocking spectacle lenses. Likewise many practitioners continue to recommend and prescribe them.
TIME TO GO DIGITAL
Check out the following featured lens products that cover a broad range of digital and computer lens designs, and contact the suppliers for more information, training and discussion. Many of them have a significant number of research papers and information on blue light and digital lens designs available to share.
By considering the RANZCO position statement, and the information you garner for yourself, you can make educated decisions as to what is best for you and your patients.
- onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1475- 1313.2011.00834.x
- ranzco.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/RANZCOBlue- Light-and-Digital-Screens-Position-Statement.pdf
Bonastar’s blueEase lenses block out UV and harmful blue-violet light (approximately 380 to 450nm), while allowing beneficial blue-turquoise light (approximately 450 to 500nm) to pass through. blueEase can increase contrast, comfort and focus while minimising eye fatigue and visual stress for patients who spend long periods in front of digital devices. According to Bonastar, this lens technology has been proven to cut most blue light that is emitted from LEDs, xenon lights, energy-saving bulbs, and electromagnetic radiation from screens. It also minimises glare, resulting in sharp and clear vision. blueEase is available in stock 1.56, 1.60, 1.67, 1.74.
Bonastar also supplies Essilor Crizal Prevencia 1.50, Nikon Lite 1.60, Seecoat Blue UV stock lenses, and Essilor Eyezen stock and grind lenses.
Contact: Bonastar (AUS) 02 9310 1688
Home&Office Neo is a fully customised indoor solution with different power options and progression lengths to meet wearers’ needs. This technology uses Nikon optical design engine optimisation to further reduce aberrations for wider intermediate vision versus the original design. Available in 1.5, 1.6, 1.67 Clear and Transitions, and 1.74 Clear in three power option designs and two corridor lengths.
Nikon Soltes Wide Neo gives wearers options for intermediate and near vision tasks. From digital devices to laptops, desk tops, work stations and beyond, it provides choices to best suit patients’ prescription and viewing distances. Available in 1.5, 1.6, 1.67 Clear and Transitions, and 1.74 Clear in four designs.
For optimum results Home&Office Neo and Nikon Soltes Wide Neo require pantoscopic tilt, wrap angle and back vertex distance. Add SeeCoat Blue UV to help increase contrast on digital devices and provide lowered transmission of blue light.
Contact: Nikon Account Manager
Time spent in front of screens is constantly increasing with research showing that 43% of employees use screens for prolonged periods during the work day.1 This demands more from our near and middistance vision. OSA EasyWork – a new extended focus lens series – offers wearers lenses that improve visual comfort with a choice of styles that give convenience and comfort for all working conditions. EasyWork is available in two distance options; EasyWork Mid and EasyWork to cater to different working distances.
Contact: OSA Account Manager
1. DigitalEyezed Study by Vision Source.
Varilux Digitime is an ideal lens solution to meet the digital and work needs of modern presbyopes, and in doing so, maintain comfortable posture and vision beyond standard reading or progressive lenses. Two innovations have been built into Varilux Digitime: Ultra Near Vision for additional power below near vision to match the focus required for hand-held digital devices, and Screen Distance personalisation, which individualises the lens design to the wearer’s specific screen and work activities.
Varilux Digitime is available with Smart Blue Filter which filters up to three times more blue-violet light than standard prescription lenses, without changing the look of your patient’s spectacles.
Contact: Essilor Account Manager
Hoya Sync 111
Children and young adults through to prepresbyopes will benefit from Hoya’s newly released SYNC III, which is designed to relieve the symptoms of digital eyestrain via a near boost in the lower portion of the lens. Advanced with Hoya’s patented Binocular Eye model, optional individual fitting parameters, three boost zone options as well as a wide range of materials including polarised, these lenses can be customised to meet your patients’ needs.
Hoya BlueControl is a coating that neutralises harmful high energy blue lights, protecting your eyes while offering more comfortable and relaxed vision and a more natural colour perception. BlueControl is offered in combination with Hoya’s unsurpassed Diamond Finish anti-reflection coating, offering up to five times more scratch resistance than conventional multi-coats.
Contact: Hoya Account Manager
Opticare’s Blue Guardian lenses block high energy blue light from entering the eyes and help protect the eyes from harmful UVA and UVB energies. Opticare states that this lens helps regulate the circadian rhythm or sleep and wake cycle, assists with memory and cognitive function, and also elevates overall mood and alertness. Ask about 012Rx – a new upgrade for better and more accurate vision.
Contact: Opticare (AUS) 1800 251 852
Rodenstock Ergo computer lenses provide your patients with relief from stressed eyes which will also help ease tense neck and shoulder muscles.
Ergo is available in three variations: The Ergo Book, which is ideal for short distances (laptop computers and tablets), with vision between 40 to 60cm but allowing up to 1m with vertical movements of gaze; the Ergo PC, which gives the widest area of clear vision at a medium distance up to approximately 1.20m and allows a monitor to be seen in total clarity and without strain with an ergonomic head and body posture; and the Ergo Room, which allows for relaxed vision free from fatigue indoors with comfortable vision zones from the reading area up to 4–5m.
When prescribed in combination with Solitaire Protect Balance 2 coating, Ergo lenses reduce exposure to artificial blue light, giving your patients increased visual comfort and potentially balancing sleep wake cycles.
Contact: Rodenstock Account Manager
Shamir Smart Office is a personalised digital freeform occupational lens that provides flexibility of focus through multiple viewing zones. With the ability to provide clear vision when the direction of gaze is above the computer screen, this product sets itself apart from other designs.
The Shamir Smart Office lens family includes Shamir Workspace and Shamir Computer. Shamir Workspace provides perfect near and intermediate vision and up to 3m of distance vision for excellent vision for close tasks and mid-distance viewing. Shamir Computer provides perfect near and intermediate vision and up to 1.5m of distance vision.
Shamir Relax digital lenses are suitable for any close working environment, reducing digital eye strain and fatigue associated with prolonged intermediate and near vision tasks. Available in three viewing shifts of 0.50, 0.65 and 0.80, this is an ideal solution when combined with Shamir Glacier Blue Shield coating or the new Shamir Blue Zero, a lens material that protects against the potential harm of artificial light emitted from TV and computer screens, smartphones, tablets, and more.
Contact: Shamir (AUS) 1300 553 465
All Transitions lenses filter blue light emitted by digital devices, screens and LEDs. What many people don’t know is the sun is the highest emitter of blue light, emitting over 100 times more blue light than a digital device. Not only do Transitions light intelligent lenses filter blue light indoors, they increase the level of blue light filtering outdoors, providing protection where it’s most needed. Blue light filtering is part of the ultimate light protection of Transitions lenses also block UV and reduce glare.
Contact: Transitions (AUS) 08 8238 3257
Zeiss has developed the SmartLife lens portfolio – a new lens portfolio for all ages that takes contemporary visual challenges into account. Rooted in consumer insights and scientific research into today’s modern visual behaviour and individual age-related vision needs, this range comprises single vision, digital, and progressive lenses.
All Zeiss SmartLife lenses reflect the Zeiss heritage of excellence in optics, comprising its base pillars: Clear Optics and Thin Optics as well as two new pillars, Smart Dynamic Optics in response to changes in the visual environment and ergonomic challenges posed by dynamic connectivity; and Age Intelligence, which adapts lens designs to changes in visual parameters and abilities as wearers age.
Contact: Zeiss Account Manager
Unity Relieve lenses feature a unique design with the familiar feel of a single vision lens to help your single vision patients combat digital eye strain from device use.
Using a three-pronged approach to reducing eye strain, Unity Relieve lenses provide unrestricted distance vision, a slight power boost in the near, and targeted blue light defence using TechShield Blue to reduce symptoms of digital eye strain and fatigue.
Unity Relieve is designed to be easily customised to each patient’s unique visual needs rather than their age group. A personalised fit means better results and a superior patient experience.
Contact: VSP Optics Australia