Top Tips for Protecting Your Eyes at Work

Despite the inherent importance and noticeable sensitivity of our eyes, it isn’t very often that we give thought to the best ways to protect them. While we may all have hardwired into us the importance of wearing sunglasses on sunny days, it’s unlikely that many of us ever really go any further than this. For example, when was the last time you considered the best ways to protect your eyes at work?

Sure, if you work in a laboratory with dangerous chemicals or as a welder, protective goggles are probably a normal part of your workday. But even those of us working in offices and other traditionally “safer” environments can all benefit from making a few simple changes to protect our eyes at work.

The Dangers of a Digital Life

For many of us, using computers and other screens for extended periods is part and parcel of work life. As such, it can be easy to underestimate just how much damage this digital exposure could be causing. But there are some warning signs.

You might notice that your eyes are feeling particularly tired or heavy after a long day behind a computer screen. Perhaps they’re feeling drier than usual or maybe your vision is a little fuzzy. These can all be signs of digital eye strain (also known as Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS).

These symptoms may not sound too serious but with the average person in the UK spending around 12 hours every looking at a screen, this can be significant. In addition to dry eyes, and blurred vision, extended screen time can also be associated with neck pain, eye irritation and headaches. So, let’s take a look at some top tips for protecting your eyes at work.

Embrace Good Ergonomics

Ergonomics refers to the considered arrangement of your equipment to ensure the utmost comfort and safety. There are a few simple things you can do to make sure your workstation is working with your body rather than against it to help preserve your long-term eye health.

One of the simplest, yet most effective, things you can do is adjust the height and tilt of your computer screen. The screen should sit directly at eye level and be placed around 20-30 inches (or roughly an arm’s length) away. If you work on a laptop, a laptop stand can be used to raise your screen to the right height.

Prioritise Appropriate Lighting

Bright lighting can be your eyes’ worst enemy. While both natural and artificial light can be damaging in this respect, the blue light emitted from digital screens can be particularly bad for our eyes. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to mitigate the effects of these harmful light rays.

First of all,¬†adjust the brightness and contrast settings on your screen to suit your environment. Ideally, your screen should be just bright enough that you can perform your work easily without having to strain your eyes. Most devices now have a blue light filter which reduces the amount of blue light emitted from your screen. If your device doesn’t have this setting, you can download a filter online! You can also purchase blue light-filtering glasses to wear during your screen time.

Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

This can often be the most difficult change to make, as many of us rely on a regular cup of joe to get us through the working day. But the fact is, caffeine can significantly contribute to the damaging influence of screens.

That’s because caffeine causes us to become dehydrated, forcing the body to direct water to the most vital areas. Unfortunately, this doesn’t tend to be the eyes. As a result, our eyes can become dry, leaving them more vulnerable to the other symptoms of digital eye strain. Cutting back on the caffeine in favour of more hydrating options – at least while using screens – could therefore pay dividends to your overall eye health.

Take Frequent Rests

Focusing your eyes on a specific thing – such as a computer screen – for long periods can cause your blinking rate to drop from an average of 12 to 15 times a minute to as low as 4 or 5 times. This can lead to dryness and discomfort.

This can usually be managed by following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, focus on an object about 20 feet away from you for at least 20 seconds. This will help to prevent eye strain and keep your eyes moist and comfortable. You can also buy hydrating eye drops at most pharmacies that can help to keep your eyes lubricated.

In addition to these tricks for managing your eye health, it is also strongly advised that you attend regular eye exams. As a general rule, most people should attend an eye test every two years, or as often as your optician recommends. This can help to identify eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration early and give you the information you need to successfully manage your eye health.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your eye health or are interested in how Laser Eye Surgery could improve your vision, get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators today. Alternatively, Book a Consultation to find out if you could be suitable for Laser Eye Surgery.