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What is the PRIO system?
It's a new technology, and a method for testing and prescribing occupational glasses for patients who have symptoms of eyestrain when working at a computer.
What's different about this, compared to other methods of prescribing glasses for computer users?
There is currently no other method of testing or prescribing computer glasses that addresses the real cause of the eyestrain. The PRIO System was developed to duplicate the light characteristics of the computer screen and cause your eyes to react the same way in the doctor's office as they do when you sit in front of your computer. This allows the doctor to determine the exact correction you need to eliminate the constant refocusing effort that causes the eye fatigue.
Does this result in a special pair of glasses?
Yes. Since PRIO glasses will have a different power from your regular glasses, they would be used only for working in front of your computer. If you wear contacts, you would put the PRIO glasses on over your contacts, or if you don't wear any glasses or contacts, you would wear these glasses only when you're sitting at your computer.
Will these glasses make the screen clearer?
Yes. But more importantly, they will eliminate the constant refocusing effort that your eyes go through when viewing the screen.
Do these glasses look like safety glasses?
Not unless you want them to. You are free to use almost any style of lenses, both single-vision and multi-focal, and any style of frames. It's up to you and your eye doctor.
What about the tints I've heard of for computer lenses?
Some computer lenses are marketed that have various tints and filters on them. These may provide minor help to computer-using patients, but they don't address the underlying cause of eyestrain. The best steps to take to prevent computer eyestrain: Get the correct prescription. Go to a doctor who uses a 21st century diagnostic tool—the PRIO Vision Tester—rather than traditional printed test targets, which cannot recreate the focusing demand of the computer screen. Get lenses designed for computer viewing. PRIO lenses are optimized for looking close up and at the computer. They will prevent the head and neck movement caused by bifocal or progressive lenses, while you unconsciously search for the correct power. PRIO lenses also give you some distance vision beyond the computer, to minimize the distance blur you would experience with single vision lenses. Get anti-reflective coating on your computer lenses to prevent glare and reflections on your lenses—so you can see your screen, and not the light fixtures behind you. If you work in brightly lit office, you may benefit from a light tint applied to your lenses. This can cut the amount of light that reaches your eyes and provide relief in some cases. But the first three steps will provide many more benefits. Ask your eye care professional about PRIO computer lenses and AR coating.
Does everyone working on a computer need PRIO glasses?
No. Only if you have symptoms of eyestrain, such as those listed on the patient questionnaire.
How do I know these glasses will work?
California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco did a study of 200 patients using the PRIO System in 1991, with very positive results. Some of the patients already wore bifocals, some of the patients wore single-vision lenses, and some had no previous eyesight correction. All of the patients were given PRIO-prescribed glasses with a bifocal lens style. Of the group that already wore bifocals, 94% said their PRIO glasses eliminated 100% of their eyestrain. Of the group with single vision or no correction, 55% had the same reaction. Of the remaining 45%, almost all said the screen was clearer, but their problem was adapting to the bifocal lens style. The doctor performing the study felt the PRIO System offers tremendous benefit to computer users who experience eyestrain and related problems.
Will insurance pay for these glasses?
In some cases. If you have medical coverage, but not vision, the exam portion of the cost can probably be covered by your medical carrier. If you also have vision insurance, you may be entitled to an annual exam, which could be used to cover the PRIO exam. A few proactive companies are already providing exams and eyewear for their employees who work at computers.
Is it worth it to have these glasses?
The people who have already gotten their PRIO glasses sure think so!