July 21, 2018
Could You Benefit from Specialty Eyeglasses?

Could You Benefit from Specialty Eyeglasses?

by Peter Jaret  

Remember when eyeglasses were designed simply to help you see better?

These days, specialty eyeglasses offer far more than improved vision. Eyeglasses can be designed to ease or prevent neck and back pain, make it easier to drive at night, and even help you sleep better, among other benefits. Here’s what to be on the lookout for:

Eyeglasses that help you sleep more soundly. If you find yourself tossing and turning after using your computer, smart phone, or tablet in the evening, the culprit could be the blue light from the screen. Research suggests that blue spectrum light suppresses the brain’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps initiate sleep. Some optometrists now recommend prescription glasses with special lenses that filter out blue light to help you sleep better.

Glasses for night driving. As you get older, the glare from oncoming traffic at night can make night driving difficult. Lenses with an anti-glare coating (also called anti-reflective) may help. These lenses are also useful if you do a lot of work outside in direct sunlight. One downside: The coatings scratch easily, so be careful to clean the glasses only with a soft cloth.

Lenses that correct abnormal color perception. People who are “color blind” typically lack the ability to perceive certain colors normally. Specially tinted eyeglasses can help some people with color blindness to distinguish between colors, although they don’t restore normal vision.

Colored lenses for sharper vision. Most of us choose the color of sunglass lenses based on how they look. But certain shades of color may have particular benefits, according to the Vision Council, a trade group. For example, brown, amber, or copper lenses may reduce glare and increase contrast. Gray and green-gray lenses, because they are neutral in color, may help improve visibility and depth perception. Yellow or rose-colored lenses can make it easier to see in low-light conditions. Try out different colors of lenses to see how they work for you.

Lenses that protect your neck and back. Many adults wear progressive lenses, which correct far, near, and close vision all in the same lens. They couldn’t be more convenient, but to use them, you have to tip your head to look through the appropriate part of the lens. If you work at a computer, you may be holding your head back at an uncomfortable angle, which can cause upper back and neck pain. If you wear progressives, pay atttention to how you hold your head and neck at the computer. Not comfortable? Talk to your eye doctor about specialty glasses for computer work that correct vision specifically for the distance from your head to the computer.

Eyeglasses to ease dry eye. Dry eye occurs when your eyes don’t produce tears properly or tears evaporate too quickly. Wraparound glasses specially designed to fit snugly against your skin can slow the evaporation of tears and increase humidity around your eyes. Eyeglasses equipped with side shields can protect your eyes from the drying effect of wind.

Protective eyewear. Ninety percent of sports-related eye injuries could be prevented, research shows, with safety glasses and other protective eyewear. Prescription and nonprescription safety glasses meet higher standards for protection than standard eyeglasses. The strongest are made of polycarbonate, which offers 10 times more impact resistance than other plastics. If you wear glasses for vision correction, experts recommend protective goggles that cover your glasses. Safety shields and eye guards designed for particular sports are also available.

Also see Tinted Glasses for Migraines.