Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When bifocals, computers collide

The problem of bifocals with computer use ...

"When it comes to reading small print and seeing oncoming traffic from a distance, bifocals are a sure bet. But the dual-purpose lenses aren't great at "in between" distances -- for example, from chair to computer screen.

So bifocal wearers commonly adopt a working posture that can strain the neck muscles and result in neck pain and piercing headaches. They extend the neck forward to bring the screen into closer view, tilting the head to focus through the lower segments of the lenses, says Richard Guyer, a spine surgeon with the Texas Back Institute and a past president of the North American Spine Society.

In some people, the pain extends beyond the neck to the shoulder and can radiate down the nerves to the hands, sometimes resulting in shoulder and elbow injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome, said Joseph Kleinkort, a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association and an ergonomic consultant.

It doesn't take a spine surgeon, though, to correct the problem. Kleinkort recommends getting a pair of trifocals -- essentially bifocals with a third, middle lens for the intermediate zone some 18 to 24 inches away.

Another option is progressive lenses, which are typically prescribed for older patients with presbyopia and are made with a single, seamless lens that changes magnification depending on the angle.

These lenses "allow you to find the best region in the glasses for whatever distance your task demands," says Lynn Gordon, a neuro-ophthalmologist at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. Progressive contact lenses are also available.

The ergonomics of your workspace also play a role in relieving the aches. Simply changing the position of the computer monitor, in fact, may do the job."    (Continued via Star-Telegram)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Computer Use With Bifocals - Ergonomics

Computer Use With Bifocals

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