Specialty Eyewear: Glasses
for All Seasons, for All Reasons
Specialty eyewear eyeglasses designed specifically for certain tasks can help you optimize your vision for nearly any scenario.
While "one size fits all" might be true in some situations, it's rare that one pair of eyeglasses is suitable in all circumstances. Examples of specialty eyewear include computer glasses, driving glasses and protective eyewear.
According to a survey by The Vision Council, the most important reasons for purchasing specialty eyewear include:
- For a specific activity such as computer use, work, hobbies, sports or driving.
- To see better in general.
- For the safety features that create an increased enjoyment of sports by protecting eyes from harm.
- For cosmetic reasons or because the wearer wants a different look.
Can you benefit from specialty eyewear? The descriptions below should help you decide.
The more time you spend at a computer, the more you risk developing eye strain and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome. That's because during computer use, your eyes must remain focused at a very specific range for long periods of time, and viewing a computer screen tires the eyes more quickly than reading a book or newspaper.
Computer glasses are designed specifically for intermediate and close-up distances, the zones most associated with computer use. Computer-specific eyewear gives you the best correction for these distances and helps you avoid eye strain.
Specialty Eyewear for Work and Hobbies
Some people discover that their regular glasses are suitable for everything they do except for certain tasks associated with their job or hobbies.
For example, if you wear bifocals, you may find that unless what you're reading is in your lap you must tip your head back all day long to use the reading zone in the bottom of the lenses.
You can avoid neck discomfort by purchasing special work glasses that have the reading segment placed higher up in the lenses. Special-design bifocals and trifocals for work-related tasks often are called occupational lenses.
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If your hobbies include close-up work such as beading, needlepoint, crafting or anything requiring intense focusing at very close distances, a separate pair of reading glasses may be helpful.
If both your eyes need the same correction, then you can purchase several pairs of inexpensive reading glasses, also called "readers," almost anywhere: drugstores, bookstores and even craft stores.
But if each of your eyes has a different correction need, which is very common, then you'll want to order a custom pair of readers from your eye care practitioner to accurately address the prescription needs of each eye.
Of course, safety glasses are a must to protect your eyes from flying debris when you are working with power tools as well as hand tools such as hammers and saws.
By changing the lens tint of sunglasses, you can improve your visual acuity on the tennis court, golf course or the slopes.
Sport-specific eyewear can enhance performance by improving visual clarity while protecting your eyes from injury. Within this category, you'll find both eyeglasses and sunglasses with impact-resistant polycarbonate or Trivex lenses.
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Driving glasses come in two categories: sunglasses designed specifically for driving and prescription eyeglasses. Sunglasses for driving feature polarized lenses that reduce glare and make it easier to see in bright sunlight.
Drivers who have been in accidents often claim that they couldn't see the other car or a pedestrian because of glare reflecting off the road or the sun shining in their eyes. And studies have shown that glare can be a causative factor in automobile accidents.
Polarized sunglass lenses reduce glare and make it easier to see in bright conditions, and polarized lenses tinted specifically for driving increase contrast for sharper vision.
Prescription eyewear for driving includes an appropriate distance prescription and lenses with an anti-reflective coating. This special coating reduces glare from light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your lenses and allows more light to enter your eyes for better vision when driving at night.
Safety eyewear is made of ultra-durable materials and provides more coverage than regular glasses, especially when the frame has a wraparound design or includes top and side shields. Many safety frames also include spring hinges for added durability.
All safety eyewear should include lightweight, impact-resistant polycarbonate or Trivex lenses for comfort and superior eye protection.
Specialty Eyewear for Fun and Fashion
Maybe you want more than one pair of eyeglasses simply so you can match your eyewear to different outfits or moods.
To help you find the frames that will look best on you, read our articles on matching eyeglasses to your personality and lifestyle and choosing frames that complement your face shape and coloring.
[Page updated May 2014]