What does neck and shoulder pain have to do with an optometric blog? The answer deals with individuals wearing bifocals who work with desk top computers. When bifocals are prescribed, they’re usually for reading through the bottom part at lap level and looking at the distance through the top part. If a person is viewing a computer that’s at eye level, in order to use the bifocal, they’ll have to tilt their head back and generally lean into the screen. Hence the neck and back pain. Also it’s critical that the eye doctor ask the patient about their work station. That includes if there are multiple monitors and what distance the user is from the monitor and what the monitor’s height is.. Also the age factor is important. There’s a big difference in prescribing for the first time bifocal wearer who is 43 years old vs the bifocal wearer who is in their 50s or older.
Here’s just one example Let’s say we have a 55 year old individual who is looking at a monitor about 22 inches away and at eye level and viewing text at 16 inches. I will often times prescribe a bifocal (or no line progressive lens) with the top part of the prescription for 22 inches and the bottom part of the prescription for reading. The patient needs to know that this pair of glasses is only for work and that it will blur out distance. The patient here could sit back and view the monitor with out having to alter their posture.
In future blogs we’ll discuss contact lenses and viewing a monitor.