Seeing Clearly

As a PhD student I spend a lot of time sitting in the office, and almost all of that involves looking at my laptop or computer monitor. Over the last year I have found it more and more difficult to spend full days at my desk without feeling muscles aches, tiredness or general restlessness. All this makes it harder to work consistently throughout the day.

From PhD Comics. Credit: Jorge Cham (Click on image to return to original webpage)

From PhD Comics. Credit: Jorge Cham (Click on image to return to original webpage)

In some ways I have a good situation here as the office I’m in has just been refurnished (with unwanted desks from another department), I have a reasonable size HD monitor to attach to my laptop which more than doubles the screen space, my laptop sits on a raised surface to keep it at eye level, I use a shelf above my desk to store textbooks, notes, papers to read and personal items and I own a reasonably decent office chair that reduces the strain on my back.

 Two weeks ago, on a whim, I made my first visit to the opticians for about 6 years.

Five days ago I picked up my first pair of glasses*

(*This is not strictly true. I had one pair of glasses at 17 years old, with an entirely different prescription to now, but I only needed them for one particular classroom at school)

Slightly dark photo of my new glasses

Slightly dark photo of my new glasses

The prescription I have allow my glasses to correct for an astigmatism, which means my eyes are not perfectly spherical (the ‘cylinder’ section in this explanation). I need to wear them for all screen-related activities, for example using my computer, my smartphone and watching TV. I should also use them for ‘concentrated-distance’, including driving.

I have been following these instructions for the last five days and to be perfectly honest I’m surprised at how much it has helped. Reading on my computer is suddenly less fuzzy, and the difference in TV sharpness reminds me of swapping from VHS to DVD quality, or ‘normal’ TV to HD.

The biggest difference I am hoping for is an improvement in my ability to work as I reach the end of a day. I have found my eyes feeling very tired by 3-4pm on workdays over the last few months and so far this week that hasn’t happened. This isn’t enough time to conclusively say the glasses have made that difference, but it is a promising start!

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One thought on “Seeing Clearly

  1. David says:

    Now you’ll have to be careful of selfies as there will be a reflection in the glasses!!

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