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Tuesday, 31 January 2012


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May I suggest you try the Opera browser? It comes complete with a little slider on the bottom right of its window that easily zooms any web page. Much better than relying on the site to resize.

Some states like California require eye exams within a specified period before you can purchase new prescription glasses. The real benefit for the individual is to catch diseases or other problems. That's the way I found out about a particular eye condition that now requires annual monitoring.

For my drivers license, the doctor noted that my left eye was doing much worse than the right. To that I replied: "It's ok, I only work with my right eye". With a baffled look on his face, I left without explaining my profession.

OT: My is vote for 'otorhinolaryngologist'.

I forgot to mention that the simplified spelling of Ophthalmologist would be Of-thal-mologist, given its true pronunciation. The 'p' sound is really pronounced as an 'f' and the 'l' is not silent, although the latter is not generally heard in normal conversation.

Easier to just say 'eye doctor' or MD (not to be confused with residents of Maryland).


Considering the problem you describe in your right eye, you might want to take care of yourself and go see that eye doctor, the one I can't spell; the name is actually an eye chart of some kind. Anyway, that kind of eye doctor will give you a much more thorough eye exam and eye test. He might be able to help that right eye a bit.

Rob Griffin

Some years ago I got my first pair of "computer glasses" for the same reason as you - my neck. My situation was compounded because I wear bifocals, and was faced with a choice of either tilting my head back (which is really uncomfortable when done for an extended period) or taking off my glasses and attempting to cope with the issues created by my astigmatism.

Since I spend a large part of my working day in front of a computer, getting a pair of glasses optimized for use in front of a computer screen was one of the best investments I ever made.

- et -

Thinking about the same thing. My working distance is around 24-32 inches. The combo of contacts and +1.5 readers works OK but want the option to switch to dedicated computer glasses when eyes are tired. Daily-wear eyeglasses with a bifocal reading section on the bottom are torture for computer work.

I hope all remains well with your right eye. I've just got to the age where I'm lifting my glasses onto my forehead (I have standard short sight) in order to read the small print on papers. Time for some bifocals I guess.

By the way, I am tremendously impressed with the visual quality of your assistant in the TOP Global HQ as you head off to do some Superman-ning. Who knew that Waukesha had such a beauty, and she's working for you?

Would you believe that as I sit here, several miles from my camera, I have no idea which eye I use to shoot? I'm going through the motion in my head but both feel equally plausible. Of course, I'm surrounded by people so I'm not actually pantomiming bringing the camera up, to avoid looking like a crazy person.

As we, um, mature, our eyes lose the flexibility they once had, and need help at all distances.
Consider a distance/midrange pair, for driving and seeing the dashboard, and a midrange/closeup for working at the computer and, sure, museums.
Plus a pair of dedicated readers, for reading.
I don't find the traditional distance/reading combination very useful, and I wasted a ton of money on the so-called smooth-transition bifocals, which are like looking through a fishbowl. They're supposed to not look like you're wearing bifocals, but I figure it's not a secret that I'm old.
It sucks, but it beats all of the alternatives.

Having bifocals designed specifically for computer work is something more people should do. The cost is the same and life much much better. Mine are ground so that I can read the screen at 36 inches which is perfect for the way I work.

Some pilots have specials made with a lens at the top ground so that they can see switches on the overhead.

No, ophtamologist, without the ell, sounds very wrong. It does not point anymore to the etymology (greek ophthalmos) which may be related to thalamos=chamber, how can camera lovers dismiss it? What about oftalmologist instead?

I feel for you Mike. I'm in a similar situation and use my correctable left eye for everything ... including to look through viewfinders and at the LCD.

I remember that you and Kirk have had a few words about square sensors, so you might like my take on them. See my blog article:

Mike, I had the same issue with computer screens. I'd been dealing with bifocals for a few years, then developed serious neck pain. Turns out it was my new job requiring 8 hours in front of a screen. I was leaning in and squinting all day. Trifocals did the trick, tho I still have to keep myself from leaning in to do fine detail work in Photoshop.

If you're using firefox or chrome try "CTRL +" in browser. Larger fonts in no time.

i use two pair of glasses regularly, both fixed-segment bifocals. one is distance/reading, and the other is PC/reading. since my monitor is 12 inches beyond arms length from my eye, that pair also serves for museum purposes - when i have the sense to bring them along.
and i have a pair of distance-only (a mistaken purchase) which is helpful for TV in bed. AND a pair of reading-only, since the reading segment in the bifocals is a bit smaller top-to-bottom than i would like - but i don't want 1970's glasses that extend all the way down my cheeks.


Last year I switched from glasses, which I've been wearing (in increasing strength) since age 7 (and should probably have been wearing much earlier) to contacts.

Best photographic accessory I ever got. Viewfinders just aren't made for eyeglass wearers, whether you're using an SLR or a Leica.

It was photography that showed me I had a problem with my eyes. I've worn glasses since I was 9 (short-sighted) and noticed that I had to set the diopter wheel on my X100 at the limit on my right eye, but my left one was fine (no adjustment needed). Turned out my right eye had cataracts. Completed the ops (both eyes) three weeks ago and now, in photographic terms, everything is two full stops brighter, with increased sharpness and more saturated colours. Wonderful!

Mike, as you're on OS X as well as using the in browser zoom (they all do it btw) you can zoom the screen too to 'enlarge' any portion of the screen - if you don't mind cropping…
To do this hold CTRL and roll the mouse wheel or slide your finger if you have a strokey mouse.

@ Jeff, re pronunciation,

Your words lead me to mark yet another word that sounds different in American than it does in English (tomato, etc). Opp-thal-mol-ogist. It doesn't even sound difficult to my English ear. My wife and I differ on pronouncing "veterinary", with me saying "veter-in-ary", and she coming out with "veter-rin-aray-aray-aray" and then giving up. so we take the dog to the vet as it stops arguments.

At least it is not as different as Detroit, which I first visited in the mid 80's as a very young man. Having studied French for 10 years at school, and going on to study French at University, I was fairly convinced it was pronounced "de-twois", as it should be in French, and it is clearly by history and just looking at the word French in origin. It seems the citizens never got informed ;)

I don't need bifocals. Yet. At my last checkup a couple months ago, my eye doc (much easier to spell, but I'm glad we don't refer to all specialists by their most-studied body part) told me that the "b" word was probably in my future in another year or three.

Then, I saw a news article that "electronic glasses" were now being sold in my small town. (150k) for $1200.


I think in another year or two, we'll be able to buy a pair for about $600. I'm willing to pay that. Sounds way better than permanent bifocals. :)

As someone who has worn glasses since the age of eight years old I'm very aware of any changes in my vision. So far so good except for the common age changes.

I have a pair of computer glasses that focus at 24-26" for my work. I use LCD computer screens 12 or so hours a day. Without the proper glasses I can barely focus at the end of the day.

One personal quirk is that I'm right handed but left eyed. My natural vision is better in my left eye. I guess before I started wearing glasses it became dominant.

I'm a great believer in regular yearly visits to your opthal . . er, – eye doctor.
Your eyes are your first camera, the best there is, never been topped, never will.
So see your eye doctor, they can look at the back of the eye too, as we age all kinds of stuff happens.
My doc is a real sweetie, that's what you have to find, someone who knows their business and you don't mind visiting.

Don't know why my first post didn't appear. CMD+ in Safari enlarges any text from a web site.

Regarding your last paragraph, I second that emotion.

Chris the Cataract Kid

As has been stated, if you wear progressive trifocals do your neck a big favor and get "computer" glasses. I think the natural postion of the head is straight forward or slightly down. Eleminating having to tilt your head back really helps with daily comfortif you spend a lot of time in front of a monitor.

We don't call them bifocals anymore. they're progessive lenses.

And there are apparently a whole slew of new neck and back problems cropping up that are associated with heavy use of tablet computers.

Welcome to my world. I don't wear glasses, but I am left-eyed and left-handed. I shoot a DSLR left-eyed, with both eyes open. The camera body masks my right eye in both landscape and portrait orientation. I find this much more comfortable than closing my right eye. Unfortunately, this renders the thumb-operated controls on the back of the camera unusable at eye level, but I'm well habituated to shooting this way.

I have bifocals specifically ground for computer work (20-24 inches away) and for reading (14 inches away). The top two-thirds of the lens are for computer work, and the bottom third is for reading. In practice, this has worked out very well indeed, since the lower portion of the glasses is optimized not just for reading, but for the front portion of my desk, and the rest for the LCD/monitor.

This way, for the 8-10 hours I'm at my desk, my lower peripheral vision is generally as much in focus as the main field of view. And when I read a book, I tend to keep my head up with these glasses, thus avoiding neck strain.

As you can "see", you're hardly alone in having special mid-range glasses, Mike. In fact last year my own "eye doc" est me up with a pair of "occupationals" (made by Zeiss). It is a bit of a racket ... selling two pairs of glasses to one patient ... but they really do offer comfort value for computer and some photo work.

Welcome to the club.

Well, my left eye is short-sighted and my right eye is long-sighted. I wear glasses but my eyes don't work together: I can't catch a ball nor enjoy a 3D movie. But I'm half-reasonable behind a camera ;)

The Superman drawing is interesting. The usual "aggressive" composition of an action-man cartoon but the trash can (aka rubbish bin) is a distraction. I also wonder if the drawing is derived from a photograph.

Get LASIK done now.
I had it done at 55 and I should have been kicking myself for 20 years.
My distance vision is as perfect as it gets and I do not mind wearing $10 pharmacy close-up glases to read. Do not let them talk you into just correcting one eye. I tried that and the headaches were bad.

As mentioned above, around these parts anyway, the optometrist will perform a basic check for various possible problems like macular degeneration and first signs of cataracts etc. and refer you to an ophthalmologist if necessary.

As far as left eye focusing: I've had a dud right eye all my life and recommend the Voigtlander Prominent, maligned for its viewfinder placement which is pretty good for the left eyed.

Mike, I am not sure whether the visual acuity that you describe for your eyes (20/60 right, 20/40 left) represent uncorrected (without lenses) or with the best correction possible. If your right eye is not correctable past 20/60, then you need to see someone to find out why. That means seeing an ophthalmologist, if you have not already done so.
I'm about your age, and I could not work with 20/60 vision in either one of my eyes, as I do microsurgery for a living. Yes, I'm an ophthalmologist.

I also wonder if the drawing is derived from a photograph.

I think it was derived from some rare newsreel footage of Superman caught in action.

I suppose everyone in the world but me takes perfect care of themselves, visiting their physician twice a year, their dentist three times, and their optometrist once.

Really? Dentist three times a year? In England, twice a year is recommended although some experts argue that once is enough. Optometrist (we call them all opticians, regardless) I go to once every two years and the doctor, only on the rare occasion that I am actually ill!

In Safari I prefer View/Zoom In, having previously clicked on View/Zoom Text Only.

I had a detached retina in the left eye which has been nicely repaired but left me even more short sighted than before, and at first with a very distorted view.

I found that I needed to zoom the text in twice to make it easy to read, but before the retina detached I could read the text on, for example this website, at normal size.

Now, I can often read this site at normal size again, unless I am tired. I've been given an optical prescription now and new glasses are coming soon. This should solve the problem of the mouse cursor hiding in the right eye's blind spot, as the cursor has been too far out of focus for the left eye to see.

Yep, I've had "computer glasses" for years now...wait till you need to read something! Then, it's off with the computer glasses; on with the reading glasses; off...on...off...you get the point. :) Ain't growin' old fun? NOT!!

Like all the comments-for computer work, I have struggled to get my bi-focals just right-even as vision progresses/digresses?

One year ago experienced a detached retina with suddeness-like semi-transparent fine sand paper filling my right (shootin') eye(no pain). Do not box but maybe sneezed too hard.

Laser surgery one day later arrested and restored full vision but with a resultant small blob/shadow coming and going in center of eye that is likely permanent.

So I like going to an opthal-optom doctor to notice any recurrence.

Steve Smith:

"Really? Dentist three times a year? In England, twice a year is recommended although some experts argue that once is enough."

Well ★that★ explains a lot.

This might work for some people. One of my colleagues who uses bi-focals for reading and finds the transferring vision from desk to screen difficult. We put his flat screen monitor on it's "back" with its "foot" facing away from him. This allows the monitor to lie at the angle you might hold a book at when you are reading. The screen is upside down but the view can be inverted using the graphics card.
He finds it a lot more comfortable.
Hope this is useful for somebody


An off-topic comment to your off-topic post...

It's interesting that ever since, a lot of cartoon depictions of Clark/Superman are very Reevean. Not complaining, seems appropriate enough, just noticing.

So, has Lois always looked like Margot Kidder circa 1978?

If you use Firefox (especially on a Mac) then the NoSquint extension remembers the zoom state for each website you visit so you don't have to fiddle with it it's always set to your preference.



Like a previous commentator I'm right handed but left eyed (and left footed). I have a lot more astigmatism in my right eye so in my first 12 years of life my brain arranged itself to use my better eye.

Of course that preference makes it awkward to use cameras designed for the right eyed (rangefinders, Fujis and the like) though with correction it's not too bad.

The upside of being an older myope of course is you can look under your glasses at the "electronic view cameras" (with the live view) that's only 8" or so away. None of the mythical"holding it at arms length".

Those comments I hear about using "electronic view cameras" at arms length I immediately wonder if it's an older guy with uncorrected presbyopia.

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