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Female with blue light blocking glasses

Avoid the Pitfalls of Zoom Calls with Glasses

January 06, 2021

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COVID has shifted lots of folks into work-from-home situations that include regular Zoom video calls. Zoom, along with similar video apps, is now how many of us connect with our family and friends. And some have mastered the art of video chatting better than others. Up there with cringeworthy backdrops that overshare personal lives and unmuted toilet flushes, eyeglasses that turn your face into a pair of reflector panels can sink your Zoom cred. So let’s fix that.


Get Rid of Computer Monitor Glare

Chances are you’ve been on a video call, or seen a video-chat interview on TV, with a person who flashes back their computer screen on their eyeglasses. You zero in on those rectangles of light, focused on them as they obscure eyes and play Pong against the frames of glasses with each head movement. It’s almost all you see. It’s like a fly landing on someone’s head. Sure, the person is saying something, and maybe something really interesting, but all you hear is, “Fly, fly, fly!”

Screen reflection is not only a distraction; it’s potentially harmful to your career. Who among us hasn't opened a computer window that's not related to the video call we're supposed to be concentrated on? There’s no way you want your boss, or anyone else, catching the reflection of a Facebook chat or your Sims world in action.

The remedy is a two-point lighting setup, common in film and TV production. But you don't need to be a Hollywood tech to properly light your face — a window and a lamp will do the trick. First, position yourself before a window to illuminate your face from the front. Next, use a desk lamp or a floor lamp to light your face from the side, canceling the glare from the front lighting. You'll have to play around with the angles to get the light just right. And remember your computer is also a light source, so try dimming the screen and adjusting its angle as you find the perfect balance.


Protect Yourself Against Blue Light Strain

If you’re spending five or more hours staring at a computer screen each day, you’re probably getting bombarded by blue light. What’s that? Blue light is high-energy, high-frequency light that’s emitted by most digital devices. When it hits the eye, blue light scatters, forcing your peepers to work extra hard to focus. Blue light can explain the headaches, dry eyes, and blurry vision some of us experience after long hours in front of a computer.

Plus, if you’ve had trouble getting a good night’s sleep after a day of computer work, blue light may be the culprit. A Harvard University study found that blue-light exposure causes the brain to slow the release of melatonin, a natural hormone the body produces to help induce sleep.

Luckily, there’s a solution — get yourself a pair of Blue Light Blocker glasses. A University of Houston study, in which participants wore blue-light-blocking glasses, found that the eyewear guards against low melatonin levels, leading to longer, better-quality sleep.


Show Professional Style on Work Calls

Okay, so you’ve got the right light. Your eyes are protected. Now we need to talk about your look. Specifically, the style you’ve been sporting on your video calls. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can go with a full at-home look on your Zoom calls. People can see you! And they’re probably even more focused on you now than they might otherwise have been during the daily grind of office life from days gone by.

While, yes, you may work with a laid-back crew, it's still a good idea to adhere to a few professional basics on video calls. Dress almost as well as you would at the workplace. If you normally wear a suit with a tie, lose the tie. Switch from a sharp blazer to a smart blouse. One step down. Additionally, stick with solid colors, as patterns can show up fuzzy on computer screens. As for your glasses, you can never go wrong with a classic look.

You should also think about skincare. Dry skin, oily skin, blots, and blemishes — the camera shows it all. Even if you’ve had a Neanderthal-level approach to skincare up until now, consider applying tinted moisturizer on your face before a video call. You can also do it digitally with Zoom’s handy “touch up my appearance” feature. Now, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve got a mirror somewhere at home. Right? So use it! Fix your hair, adjust your clothing, always check out how you look before hopping on a Zoom call.

Don’t let bad Zoom conference calls put a dent in your online presence. Eliminate computer screen reflection with proper lighting, get screen-protection glasses, dress to nearly impress, and do Zoom right.

Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.

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