Now is the perfect time to talk to patients about specialised lens designs and coatings that will enhance their vision, reduce stress and increase productivity.
For many Kiwis and Aussies, February represents the inevitable return to work after wonderful, fun filled family holidays over the festive season. With this return to the grindstone and the inevitable ramping up of the demands of near work, a number of our patients are likely to complain of symptoms of asthenopia.
It seems many people find it difficult to ‘kick-start’ their visual systems after this time off work and period of reduced near visual tasks. Of course patients are also another year older. It may be a year or three since their last eye exam.
For presbyopes this means a further reduction in accommodative ability and an update in their Rx is required.
Occupational lenses, often in addition to progressives for daily activities like driving and shopping, can save downtime and visits to the physio
For younger patients and students, the increased demands of study and computer work also mean increased symptoms of eyestrain.
A significant number of presbyopic patients are tradespeople with specific occupational needs. Plumbers, electricians and mechanics, for example, often have to work in cramped spaces, with poor illumination and need to view objects at tricky angles that are not ideally suited to viewing through progressive or bifocal lenses.
It is, therefore, the ideal time to discuss the merits of the various occupational and vocational spectacle lenses that can make their lives and jobs a lot easier. These lenses may also offer improved health and safety and reduce postural stresses, as do their application for office workers and computer users. Safety lenses are also an important consideration.
HORSES FOR COURSES
Whether you live in the big cities or rurally, it seems there are tradies with their utes at every turn. Specialised lenses for near work are of immense value for these individuals.
For some, a simple pair of single vision lenses may do the trick, however most will need to see their smartphone, view a computer screen, construction plans and drawings, as well as read small print, instructions, model numbers and the like, at a variety of working distances. They also need to correctly and safely wire up cables and switches or braze brass pipes in plumbing or gas fitting. As mentioned, the lighting is often poor and they could be working under a house, in a roof or under cabinetry. The consequences of getting it wrong, by not accurately seeing what they are doing, can be the cause of rather serious, life threatening fires, shocks or explosions. It can also lead to injury.
As well as discussing the numerous benefits of vocational and occupational lenses, the new year is an ideal time to offer value added features that enhance performance and safety. Blue blocking filters may be beneficial, as would multicoated lenses and those that reduce deposits.
Anyone who has worked in an environment with artificial lighting, illuminated tools and portable LED lights will know only too well how these illumination sources can cause irritating glare and reflections, both in front of the spectacles and reflected off the back of the lenses. These are ideal scenarios to discuss when promoting multicoated lenses. An antireflection coating may allow as much as eight per cent increased light transmission, which is helpful in reduced or challenging lighting conditions like these, and when commuting to and from work.
DD Occupational Trifocal Lens, Younger Optics
Coatings that resist deposits and greasing are also of benefit. By their nature, a tradie’s work environment may lead to dust and grease on lenses as well as sweat and other irritating deposits. It can be difficult for these spectacle wearers to repeatedly clean their lenses. Photochromic or sunglass options may also be a useful suggestion as many of these workers move rapidly from bright glary outdoor environments to dimly lit interiors and vice versa.
There are many other occupations that will benefit from our expert recommendations on specialised lens designs; from factory and production line workers, to those operating in food processing and steamy environments (e.g. kitchens and laundries). If you practice in areas with such demographics it may be worth familiarising yourself with the environmental and visual requirements of these industries and occupations.
BREAD AND BUTTER
Of course the bread and butter of most practices are office workers, students, stay-at-home parents or shop assistants. While modern, state of the art high-tech premium progressive lenses may suffice for many, there are others for whom specific vocational lenses will be better.
Computer set-ups and workstations are often not ideal. Postural issues are a prime consideration: many patients complain of musculoskeletal issues that result in neck and back pain, often requiring physiotherapy and the like. Occupational lenses, often in addition to progressives for daily activities like driving and shopping, can save downtime and visits to the physio, leading to improved health, increased performance, efficiency and productivity. These lenses can also save visits to GPs and reduce spend on anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers with further potential health benefits. Specialised blue blockers may further improve outcomes while multicoats provide better function and cosmesis.
Tim McCann, General Manager, Rodenstock Australia, spoke to mivision about his company’s innovative Ergo range of vocational lenses for ergonomic use, pointing out, “Ergo lenses are matched to a patients’ visual requirements as well as their workplace.
“Traditionally, occupational near vision lenses have degressive surfaces and are offered with one or two degressions, which use a defined addition range. This has one distinct disadvantage: with fixed degressions, different points of vision in the lens result for specific vision distances, dependant on the addition of the Rx required by the wearer. This means that, for example, the main viewing distance to the computer monitor does not always coincide with the originally designed widest vision zone in the lens. Head posture and lowering of gaze have to be adapted to the lens. It is thus not always possible to ensure an ergonomic head and body posture.
“Rodenstock Ergo lenses by contrast, are matched to individual visual requirements as well as those of the workplace. In addition, Rodenstock Ergo lenses can be selected to incorporate ‘Eye Lens Technology’ in order to maximise visual potential. Whether for work or a hobby, vision will be relaxed.”
Although many patients we see are not yet presbyopic, stress reducing lenses that address accommodative-convergence issues can allow them to see and function better.
Today we are fortunate to have access to a superb range of vocational and progressive lenses when considering what’s best for our patients. The following informative submissions from a variety of suppliers provide plenty of food for thought.
Hard Working Lenses
The Zeiss Office Lens provides maximum visual fields for near and intermediate work, ensuring good posture is maintained. It’s available with three intermediate working distances: Book (one metre), Near (two metres) and Room (four metres), or an Individual design, for a customised intermediate viewing distance to suit more specific visual requirements. The addition of Zeiss DuraVision BlueProtect reflects a portion of high energy blue light, ensuring visual comfort and protection, even when there is a high blue light portion.
Contact: Zeiss Account Manager
BlueEase coating cuts blue light from screens, minimises glare, and increases contrast, comfort and focus. For patients who spend hours in front of a computer, this is a great way to minimise eye fatigue and visual stress. Prescribe with Bonastar single vision 1.56, 1.60, 1.67, 1.74 stock, single vision grind, Digital Office, free-form progressive lenses. Eyezen digital screen protection lenses, created by Essilor and designed to reduce eye strain, are also now available from Bonastar.
Contact: Bonastar (AUS) 02 9310 1688
Blue Guardian lenses from Opticare block high energy blue light and help prevent harmful UVA and UVB energies from entering the eye. The blue blocking agent within Blue Guardian is embedded into the material itself and not in the coating. These lenses are recommended for individuals who are constantly exposed to electronic devices for work or personal reasons, and children as they are more susceptible to the effects of blue light. Skeye Blue Multicoat is a special lens coating that provides greater contrast and better protection while using digital devices.
Contact: Opticare (AUS) 1800 251 852
Dynamic Sync – for children and young adults through to pre-presbyopes – is designed to relieve the symptoms of digital eyestrain via a small near boost in the lower portion of the lens. iD Workstyle V + Space, Screen and Close for presbyopes, can be customised for individual working conditions. This lens features binocular harmonisation technology, which performs individual calculations, ensuring the correction is appropriate at each point of the lens and exactly measured according to the needs of each eye, assisting even mild cases of anisometropia with near demand on their visual system. Sensity Light reactive and Diamond Finish Bluecontrol Coatings, combined with these advanced lens designs, provide a solution for all age groups to reduce digital eyestrain and mitigate the effects of blue light.
Contact: Hoya Account Manager
i-PC Office provides clear vision from the 40cm near zone up to 1.3, two or four metres. It’s ideal for all presbyopes with needs for intermediate and near vision such as office workers, cooks, artists and many daily life activities as well as other occupations. Orion ADL is ideal for presbyopes with special needs for intermediate and near vision such as office workers, students, cooks, artists and many other occupations. Available in two different degressions; high (1.25 D) and low (0.75) shift, the user will enjoy wide intermediate and near vision combined with exceptional comfort. Both lenses are available with Techshield Blue, a next generation anti-reflective coating with a near-clear appearance, that reduces blue light exposure.
Contact: VSP Australia Account Manager
Shamir Smart Office is a digital freeform occupational lens that provides smooth transition from mid to near distance providing clear and sharp vision for the computer, as well as the other side of the room. The range includes: Shamir Workspace for perfect near and intermediate vision with up to 3m of distance vision for close tasks or mid-distance. Shamir Computer for perfect near and intermediate vision with up to 1.5m of distance vision, for excellent vision for close tasks. Shamir digital Relax lens is now available in three viewing shifts of 0.50, 0.65 and 0.80.
Contact: Shamir (AUS) 1300 553 465
Younger Optics’ DD Occupational Trifocal lens is perfect for presbyopic wearers that need to look up and own when performing a task. This flat top 28 lens features a D shaped bifocal segment at the bottom and an upside down D segment at the top of the lens. The bottom of the lens is for near vision, with the top of the lens for near or intermediate. The remainder of the lens surface provides correction for distance vision. Mechanics, pilots, professional painters, carpenters, and clerks or librarians will particularly benefit from this lens.
Contact: Younger Optics (AUS) 08 8241 9800