Progressive Lenses. A Pain in Your Neck?

Does this look like you?  Do you try to focus on your computer monitor by looking through the bottom of your progressive lenses?  If so, you are probably one of many people I see reporting neck discomfort because your prescription does not allow you to maintain a neutral neck position while viewing your monitor. 

Progressive lenses are characterized by having multiple prescriptions at different levels within the lens to see items clearly at different distances.  Typically this means the bottom half of the lens is for reading materials held close and the top of the lens is for focusing at a distance. Since a computer monitor is directly in front of the user (approximately 25” away) and at eye level, individuals are often observed tilting their neck back to view the monitor through the bottom of their lenses. This sustained posture places the individual at increased risk of an MSI in their neck or upper back.

Progressive lens wearers should adjust the height, depth and angle of their monitor see the screen clearly without adjusting their neck angle. Usually this means (a) lowering the monitor so that the top of the screen is well below their seated eye height – sometimes they need to increase the height of their chair and use a footrest to achieve this, (b) pushing the monitor back slightly – just over an arm’s reach away, and (c) tilting the bottom of the monitor up – so it’s more like you’re reading from a document holder.

 If you still find yourself angling your neck back while working on a computer after making these adjustments, you may want to consider purchasing some computer reading glasses to use at work. It may be a pain in the neck to spend the extra money on another pair of glasses, but it will save you a real pain in the neck at the end of a long work day.

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