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How to Convert Your Progressive/Bifocal Prescription to Computer Prescription


As computer usage has become an integral part of our daily lives, it is unsurprising that many people spend hours staring at computer screens. Unfortunately, this can lead to eye strain, headaches, and even vision problems. People who wear progressive or bifocal glasses may find their current prescription unsuitable for computer use, as the optimal distance for reading a computer screen is generally between 15-20 inches.

Fortunately, a few options exist for to make your computer work  more comfortable for your eyes. 

Here are some tips to help you find the right solution for your needs:

   1. Consult with an eye care professional  

The first thing to do to ensure you get the right prescription for your computer use is to consult an eye care professional. They can perform a comprehensive eye exam and recommend the appropriate prescription for your needs. They can also advise on how to reduce eye strain and make other adjustments to your computer use to improve your eye health.

     2. Consider purchasing computer glasses  

One option for those who wear progressive or bifocal glasses is to purchase computer glasses. These glasses are designed for computer use and optimized for the distance between the eyes and the computer screen. They can be customized with the appropriate eye prescription, providing additional benefits such as glare reduction and blue light filtering. Just be sure to provide the progressive or bifocal prescription so the optician can convert your prescription.  

    3. Use a single-vision prescription such as readers

Another option is to use a single-vision prescription, like readers. This prescription will provide a clear image at a fixed distance, which can be set to the distance between your eyes and the computer screen. While this option may not be suitable for all users, it can be a cost-effective solution for those who only need to use their computers for short periods of time.  

4. Adjust your monitor position and font size

Finally, regardless of your prescription, you can make a few adjustments to your computer setup to reduce eye strain. Adjusting the position of your monitor so that it is at the appropriate distance from your eyes can help reduce eye strain. Additionally, increasing the font size on your computer screen can make it easier to read and reduce the need for magnification.

In conclusion, several options are available if you wear progressive or bifocal glasses and find that your current prescription is not suitable for computer use. Consulting with an eye care professional, purchasing computer glasses, using a single vision prescription, and adjusting your computer setup can all help improve your eye health and reduce eye strain. By taking these steps, you can continue using your computer confidently and protect your vision for years to come.  

It is also possible to use your progressive prescription and convert it to computer prescription:

Here's an example on how to do that using the average reading distance of 15-20 inches:

        Example: Current Progressive Rx: OD: -2.50 -0.50 x 90, Add +2.25 

OS: -2.75 -0.75 x 70, Add +2.25

Step 1: Determine the Add Power. Since the patient's reading distance is between 15-20 inches, we can assume an average reading distance of 17.5 inches.

The add power of the patient's progressive prescription is +2.25. To convert this to a computer prescription, we divide the add power by 2: 

Add power/2 = +1.125

Step 2: Determine the Sphere Power To determine the sphere power for the new computer prescription, we need to add the divided add power to the distance prescription.

Let's use the right eye as an example: 

Sphere Power = -2.50 + 1.125 Sphere Power = -1.375

Step 3: Create the New Prescription Using the same cylinder and axis values as the distance prescription: 

OD: -1.375 -0.50 x 90 

OS: -2.00 -0.75 x 70

       The new computer prescription for this patient would be:

OD: -1.375 -0.50 x 90 

OS: -2.00 -0.75 x 70


As always, verifying the new prescription with an optometrist is important to ensure that it is appropriate for the patient's needs.