If only there were one perfect pair of glasses that provided clear vision for everything. Just imagine it; clear vision to drive, use digital devices, read the back of a medicine bottle or change a washer under the kitchen sink.
The reality is that glasses are a bit like shoes; no matter how much you love those joggers, they won’t work at a wedding. Likewise your killer heels just won’t cut it at the gym. To be comfortable, you need a few pairs. It’s that simple.
This post looks at the limitations of one pair of glasses as well as the situations where task glasses can make a big difference.
What about multifocals?
Sophisticated spectacle lenses allow us to focus clearly at more than one distance. This means we can see our computer screen clearly and our keyboard, as well as glance up to see who’s just walked in.
But while multifocal lenses provide flexibility and convenience, and can be a good all-rounder, there is no substitute for task glasses when it comes to seeing as well as possible.
Tricks for tradies
Multifocals are usually designed to provide distance vision when looking straight ahead or up, and near vision if you look down – as if you’re reading a book on a desk.
But as any plumber will tell you, that’s no use if you’re lying on your back under a sink, trying to operate a wrench or allen key. You need clear focus up close, no matter what part of the lens you’re looking through.
Single vision glasses are hard to beat when it comes to working in awkward spaces. Ask your optometrist about polycarbonate or glass lenses (instead of plastic) to protect from scratching.
Task glasses for kids
Even if your child has no obvious vision problems, they can benefit enormously from glasses for school work and reading. All children should have their eyes tested before starting school, but if your child has attention issues, learning difficulties, or is falling behind, an eye test with an experienced optometrist is a must.
Archie is a ten year old boy with learning difficulties. He finds literacy tasks very tiring.
A thorough investigation by an optometrist finds that he has a small reading prescription. Often, this would make little or no difference. But in Archie’s case, he finds it exhausting to focus – both mentally and visually. Wearing these prescribed glasses for school work and homework makes a big difference to his comfort and ability to focus.
Myopia and children
The other thing to look out for is risk factors for myopia. Having one or two shortsighted parents, being of East Asian race or being less longsighted than normal as a young child (yes – kids are supposed to be a little longsighted up to about 9 years of age) are all risk factors for myopia.
The right glasses used for close work in particular can reduce this risk. Talk to your optometrist about your child’s risk of developing myopia.
One of the most common reasons for needing task glasses is if you have a job or hobby that requires very good vision for a specific distance – such as needlework or other handicrafts. Multifocals only dedicate a small zone of the lens for close work and can leave your eyes feeling tired or strained. Task glasses can be a game-changer when it comes to comfort and clarity.