Playing around with multifocal plus lenses for computer eye strain

I’m trying to get smarter (be less of an idiot) about my computer use, which I blame for some mild astigmatism I picked up in 2020. Since I’ve been doing all my work from home, on a laptop screen, I’ve picked up bad habits. I really favor keeping the computer on my right hand side, which is apparently a bad idea. People on the forum and in the scientific world have noticed that spending a long time looking at screens or papers from an odd angle tends to produce astigmatism in predictable ways (the eye that looks across the mid-line gets worse faster.)

I’m not able to hold or work on my computer and get it to blur distance (arms are too short) so I’m stuck with a lot of accommodation whenever I work on my laptop (because it’s much closer to me than the beginning of blur). In addition to taking breaks and getting outdoor time and all the important things for eye health I’m trying various strengths of plus lenses to so that I’m doing less accommodation or at least the focal length is different.
essilor anti fatigue
Using the poor-man’s version of these similar to the lens on the left

I got my first ever pair of multi-focal computer glasses today ($7 for three pairs) and they’re kind of interesting. If I move the computer out of the sweet-spot of the mutifocals it becomes unviewable. When I tilt my head a little bit it becomes un-viewable. I’m realizing that I unconsciously tilt my head a lot, and move the computer over to my favorite (bad) spot a lot. So it’s kind of eye-opening to promote awareness of my bad habits. Even though the 3 pairs of multifocals are supposed to have the same power they’re all a little bit different, which I guess is what one should expect in the $2-3 price range. For the money they’re great, going to cycle through the various plus lenses throughout the day when on the computer or phone (along with no lenses) and see if mixing it up a little bit and being forced into different viewing angles and postures takes off some of the strain. If nothing else it’s forcing me to stop sliding the computer over to the right which is my old bad habit. I also can’t look at the screen at an angle anymore, which I guess I did all the time without realizing it.

Some general mainstream computer eye-strain tips:

I don’t know. I don’t follow any rules strictly. But I never wanted to introduce any complexities to my glasses. If I wore multifocals or cyl corrections only, I would give different stimuli to different parts within the eye and what if my brain gets used to it and my vision deteriorates when not wearing any corrections? :scream: :scream: :scream: i.e. natural eye getting input without partial distortion at certain areas (multifocals) or partial distortion at certain axis (cyl). If I was really struggling to get clear flashes or clear images, then I would use the opto’s full prescriptions (in your case the astigmatism correction only) but very carefully and only as reminders of (overcorrected) full clarity.
With your case of astigmatism only, actually I would say that some eye coordination and movement exercises would do the best, and the correction of that bad habit with having the laptop at an angle.
Don’t fix what’s not broken yet. Think of it as transient astigmatism introduced by changed habits.

By the way you can increase the distance to monitor by working at a desk and purchasing separate keyboard and / or monitor for your laptop.

You’re right, and I agree with you. I’m in NYC and my whole family is home for work and school during covid, so the “desk space” is taken for people who need to do video calls all day and there’s not really any space for me to get a proper desk right now (which would be the obvious best solution and is what I would normally be doing–working at a proper desk with a proper screen and outside a whole lot more. I’m hoping this will all be over soon. I’m kind of stuck with my current set-up, so I’m basically trying to make a bad situation less bad and relieve as much eye-strain as I can. So I’m thinking the glasses will take off the accommodation strain on the cilliary muscles and also mix up the stress from the near work so at least it’s not all at the exact same position and distance that caused the problem. It’s far from ideal. The weather is starting to get nicer here and so I have been practicing baseball outside and doing more “quality” outdoor time, which will increase as it warms up. I’m not too keen on having the glasses reprogram my brain, which I don’t think will happen with limited use (I sure hope not!)

So you developed temporary “lockdown-astigmatism”… :upside_down_face:

In this case I would say the best is to vary the position as much as possible so it is not just one angle you are stuck into. True for the whole body, not only the eyes. Move the laptop from left to right, sitting position vs standing position, etc.
I don’t recommend it or do it, but some people find it useful to use +0.5D reading lenses for close up when they are near natural 20/20. I would not recommend it with multifocals or with cyl only because it gives different correction at different areas of the lenses and with that there is the risk of getting used to it… But just a light general reading glasses blur. Ideally with the laptop screen as far away as possible so you can still take in some of the periphery, too, to avoid tunnel vision. I understand it will be shorter than an arm’s length, but maybe you can do 55cms, not only 40cms? And I would exercise my eyes left-right, up-down, diagonal and round during the calls if you can switch video off (if that can be done e.g. while someone is presenting) or in the breaks. Nothing demanding just 10 times each movement, just to make sure those muscles don’t get too rusty.
Baseball is good. Moving objects, different focal planes, eye-hand-brain coordination and if you are doing it with friends there’s the added bonus of faces.
Best of luck.

For the standing position I used something like this for a while, at least during calls:

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