Has anyone tried adding a little +CYL for close work?

I’m pretty convinced that my current mild astigmatism came from putting the laptop computer in the wrong place during the Covid lockdown. I’m trying to be smarter about screen placement and practicing good eye hygiene, which I am sure will help.

Due to my numerous personality flaws I am thinking of being a guinea pig and experimenting with some +0.25 CYL lenses along the current axis of my astigmatism and maybe +0.25 SPH in a pair of “computer glasses” to see I can give the old eyeballs a little more stimulus (or slightly reduced evil stimulus) for my computer use. I can think of lots of reasons this might be a very bad idea, but I’m wondering if anybody has actually tried it to see what happens? I’m expecting some test lenses and frames any day now so I’ll see if I can prototype the +CYL lenses before I actually order another pair of $5 spectacles from Goggles4u, maybe even with the fancy coatings this time.

Did anyone try this and have good or bad results? Worst case I’ll go blind, best case maybe it takes off some eye-strain and my eyes return to their former glory faster.

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In more quantitative terms here is what I am thinking about trying

Optional Prescribed correction from Optometrist (too strong, causes nausea):
OD SPH -0.25 CYL -0.5 @ 90
OS SPH -0.25 CYL -0.75 @ 75

OD SPH 0 CYL -0.25 @ 90
OS SPH 0 CYL -0.25 @ 75
These work fine, even at night. Can easily see very clearly through them (better than without any glasses at all. I’m wearing these for driving and challenge night walks. Take them on and off.)

Candidate Differentials for limited laptop / TV use only:
OD SPH +0.25 CYL +0.25 @ 90
OS SPH +0.25 CYL +0.25 @ 75

Rationale is that the absolute focal plane change is pretty minor, but might be enough to reduce some of the bad stimulus that my laptop screen use has caused me. I’m already doing as much outdoor time and cutting back on screen time as I can. I’m also trying to be less of an idiot about putting the computer on the right hand side by habit, I can’t really get the laptop far enough away that I could still work on it and induce any blur without glasses.

I know Jake’s not a big fan of plus lens use, but I wonder if a lot of the people trying them are using drug-store reading glasses that are pretty strong and maybe not that well-made.

My opinion? Why play with fire? Cylinder in close up is one of the first correction complexities we try to eliminate. Besides Jake is not a fan of plus use for good reason, it frequently leads to more problems…

This seems like the best instinct, I would trust it if I were you.


Thanks for your opinion. It was my first instinct, too, but then I started thinking that removing minus correction is basically adding plus correction (let’s say someone moved from -1.5 CYL to -0.5 CYL). The astigmatism over-correction (minus) is useless in close-up and just contributing to a problem. Given that the close-up work itself is the problem and is the cause of the astigmatism, taking out one diopter of minus CYL is basically adding one diopter of positive CYL. That’s why I’m curious is anyone has actually tried going to positive CYL. I’m thinking that tiny amounts (say +0.25) might be useful. Typical plus lens use is reading glasses which are SPH +1 or +2.5 (a lot more correction than I’m considering.)

The physical limitations of my lockdown setup keep me from being able to physically arrange my space in a way that I can completely get rid of the bad screen position (nowhere to go). So I’m thinking (perhaps boneheadedly) that I might be in one of those situations where limited plus-lens use might actually work.

If you must play with fire at least leave the cylinder out of the equation… Though I still caution you not to as I have heard of some very real and long lasting backfires from plus use…
Also so lock down thoughts that might help? I HAVE to be on the screen, are my eyes (and/or my kid's eyes) doomed? - YouTube
Keeping in mind some of this is based specifically off chromebook use so apply as applies.

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I will check out your video now. (You look really good in the video! Your avatar picture doesn’t do you justice, maybe because the avatars are so small.) I think I’m fine when I’m viewing something on the screen because I can put it away from me but the distance I can type at is just bad, especially since the screen is attached to the keyboard and trackpad and I’m tall, the angle is just all wrong. When I use the track pad I move it to right to be a comfortable distance for my hand and then the screen is in a bad location for my eyes. Maybe I should get a wireless keyboard and mouse or something. All good points in the video.

2020 had me worried about “pandemic” and forgetting all about eye hygiene and ergonomics. :frowning:

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For my own computer use I use a wireless mouse as noted in my vidoe on habits (All about habits - YouTube). If I typed more I would use a wireless keyboard too (though might still get one when my eyes are even better). At current I just take off my glasses and lean in to type.


Fix this.

Not that.


I could not agree more. if the system would allow it, I would give 100 :heart:s.

@nycmao, for the love of all that is good, work towards the way your body is supossed to work, not against it. If you have to increase anything, go for sph, not cyl. Too many posts on this forum support this view, to add anything else.


Wasn’t a choice but a side effect of lockdown…

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Just an update for everyone, I got my “experimental astigmatism challenge glasses for close-up” with +0.5 SPH and +0.5 CYL along the axis of my astigmatism (so these don’t compensate for my astigmatism instead they make the effects more pronounced, they’re plus lenses not minus) and they actually seem to be working better than I hoped they would. With my laptop computer I can actually induce some astigmatic blur at an ergonomically functional distance, and I can pull the computer in a little closer to where I can clear the blur with AF.

If I look around the room with the glasses on the view is crappy, I can still see everything but it’s ugly. For close up work it’s fine. Now the fun part is when I take the glasses off the astigmatism is markedly reduced. I’ve tested with the digital alarm clock on the far side of the room, it’s perfect with both eyes, so-so with my right eye, and still kind of a mess with my left eye (which was weaker and had -0.75 CYL as measured a few months ago by the optometrist.)

With the experimental glasses on I can get the glitching out on the vertical lines with the screen at arm’s length, when I take the glasses off I can stand on the other side of the room and see everything great with both eyes, nice black lines everywhere, with individual eyes the vertical lines start slightly graying.

Anyway, it’s a big (noticeable) improvement over where I was a week ago. I spent several hours outside today and I can see almost as well with my naked eyes as I can with -0.25 CYL correction in each eye. Antennas on rooftops are all nice and sharp, no double lines or ghosted images, streetlights look pretty good at night uncorrected. I was actually able to take my corrective glasses on and off and get the same view with naked eyes, which is an improvement, because before the -0.25 CYL lenses were providing a pretty dramatic visual improvement.

Wearing my originally prescribed astigmatism-correction glasses for a few minutes leaves my eyes looking like absolute trash as soon as I take them off, these “challenge” glasses for close-up have the opposite effect. They’re pretty comfy for near work and haven’t caused me a headache yet. There’s a bookcase across the room from me and the titles on the spines of the book provide a nice “eye test”, ghosting and double-images on the letters on the spines of the books is completely clear after taking of the challenge glasses, not-so-good after using the laptop with naked eyes, and really lousy after wearing corrective lenses for even a few minutes.

Anyway, based on the collective EM Community’s experience the “plus lens” thing seems to be more trouble than its worth for low myopia, but maybe it can actually do something useful for low functional astigmatism. Mildly exacerbate the astigmatism by half a diopter or for near work (where it’s barely noticeable) to provide a little stimulus to the emmetropization system through “text pushing”.

If I understand other people’s experiences, higher myopes seem to be able to drop up to a diopter of CYL correction in their differentials. Perhaps low astigmats can actually throw in some CYL plus-challenge in their “computer lenses” since there’s not really a need for differentials with no myopia.

Anyway, so far it’s working better than I thought it would. If I start getting weird or annoying side-effects or problems I’ll update this thread.

As discussed you developed your need for glasses during lockdown by holding the laptop on one side.
Hats off for looking for solutions and finding EM as the first reaction to the first opto subscription - if you do it right you can cancel the subscription after the trial period instead of going back for new stronger glasses every year.
However, let me add a word of warning: having a transient astigmatism due to a bad habit picked up during lockdown is not the same as having worn astigmatism correction for a longer time already. Your challenge is not to let this astigmatism become permanent, not to do anything that fixes the bad habit forever, while others’ challenge is to get their brains retrained to get used to not receiving different corrections within the image of an eye.


I have actually contemplated the exact same thing. I am an engineer, and extremely analytical. I always calculate things 7 ways from Sunday. It seems like my actual cylinder measurements lag behind my normalized by about 1/2 to 3/4 diopter. My better eye is currently 0.00 SPH and -1.00 CYL and my current norms are 0.00 SPH and -0.25 CYL. In bright sunlight during active focus walks, I can see perfect 20/20 (maybe even 20/15) with them. My next pair of norms have no correction at all for my better eye. I am seriously considering eventually going +0.25 CYL (on the same axis, of course) to try and pull more of my astigmatism out. Sort of like having to bend a paper clip beyond the desired resting point, so that when it rebounds, it lands in the right spot.

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It seems to be working for me. I’ve tried reading the Snellen chart with naked eyes, and then wearing my “experimental treatment glasses”. I haven’t tried them outdoors but if I wear them (OU +0.5 SPH, +0.5 CYL) inside for about 15-30 minutes to work on the computer and then try to read the Snellen chart through them (a blurry mess but I can clear some of it), when I take them off my vision is noticeably clearer with a lot less astigmatic blur than before wearing them.

Conversely, I have a pair of over-corrected glasses with -0.75 CYL and -0.5 CYL and if I wear those for even a few minutes my eyes are trashed.

I’ve been reading about vision therapy and it sounds like they have people wearing prisms or trying convergence exercises or accommodation exercises for about half an hour a day and they get good results from that, so I think that’s a reasonable amount of exotic stimulus to give the eyes and brain (30 minutes per day). Someone on here mentioned getting red frames for “treatment” glasses that have challenge prisms. I’m not sure if leaving them on for hours at a time would work better or worse than half-hour sessions. +0.25 CYL isn’t a huge amount of optical distortion compared to what you would see looking through a car windshield or store-bought sunglasses so it might be OK to leave them on for longer, but I imagine it might cause headaches or eyestrain after a while. I’d probably get a regular pair of normalized and a “challenge pair” rather than trying to have the extra stimulus on all the time.

Prism glasses sound intriguing. I inadvertently noticed some temporary vision improvement a couple years ago using binoculars. Might have been a similar convergence affect. Just stumbled onto that, before I found EM. I’ll be curious to see what you think about your “challenge pair” after another month or so. I am anticipating getting to that point sometime this summer, in my better eye, so I might try something like that for distance. My non-dominant eye is about a diopter (spherical equivalent) behind, so still a year off, assuming I can equalize effectively. I had laser vision correction in my dominant in 2003.

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Everything seems to be going well. Almost all of the astigmatism seems to be gone now, and my naked eyes are excellent (almost perfect) on some days (20/10) and pretty good on other days. I’m still wearing the experimental glasses for 30-45 minutes a day for working on the computer, and alternating with other plus lenses or naked eyes depending on mood.

I’m using some allergy eye drops that seem to help on days when allergies are acting up (a few times a week). I’m kind of hypersensitive to blur right now because I am constantly checking for it (OCD-lite, probably need Adderall) and I think the tear film provides something like 0.1D of help, so if my eyes get dry that’s probably the culprit.

Sometimes I get really clear vision without any correction at all which makes me really happy. Other times the total clarity is just not quite there, and I think it’s probably dry eye or mild eyestrain rather than cilliary spasm or astigmatism. On those days -0.25 glasses bring it back to total clarity, and sometimes I can clear everything up when I take them off, but not always, which I’m trying not to obsess over (even though it bugs me).

When I’m walking down the street on those days I’m constantly taking the glasses on and off. I can read faraway signs fine but there’s transient noise or blur in the image and it’s not-quite-perfect.

So, for me so far at least screwing around with putting a little +CYL in the computer glasses for half an hour a day hasn’t caused any noticeable ill-effects. If you try it let me know how it goes and we’ll have an n=2 non-blind experiment.


Well that sounds like great results, and pretty fast! It will be a while before I’m there. I’m still transitioning to my new normalized (N5’s) that have zero correction for my better eye. And still using -0.50 cylinder correction for differentials. Thanks for the update!

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