Protecting your eyes at work

Usually it’s only once we get home after a long, hard day’s work that our attention is drawn to our eyes. We notice they feel tired and strained, that we are rubbing them every few minutes, or that the writing on our Kindle is a little fuzzier than normal.

We use our eyes almost every minute of every waking hour of the day. Six or seven hours of which are spent in front of a computer. Include the time staring at our other devices, and over the course of one day, an average person in the UK spends around 12 hours looking at a screen.

But with clients or managers breathing down our necks, little time for regular breaks, and poor quality work environments, it’s hard to treat our eyes with the care and attention they need. Enter CVS or Computer Vision Syndrome, the umbrella term for a host of problems associated with extensive screen use — things like dry eyes, neck pain, blurred vision, headaches, eye irritation, and even in extreme cases short-sightedness and corneal scarring.

You only have one pair of eyes, so don’t wait until it’s too late to start looking after them. Check out our top tips for protecting your eyes at work and help safeguard your long-term eye health.

Good ergonomics

A good workstation is one of the best investments you can make in preserving your long-term eye health. If you work on a laptop, use a stand to raise it to a more comfortable height to avoid tension and eye strain. If you use a desktop monitor, the top should sit directly at eye level or just below, and be placed around 20-30 inches or roughly an arm’s length away.

Appropriate lighting

Brightly lit offices are the eye’s worst enemy, but there’s plenty you can do to mitigate their effects. Firstly, you can adjust the brightness and contrast of your screen to suit the environment — it shouldn’t seem any brighter or darker than the setting. Secondly, use anti-glare screen filters to reduce the amount of light reflecting on your screen. Lastly, install a blue-light filter to omit harmful HEV rays and adjust your light exposure according to the time of day.

Less caffeine

This is a toughy for most people. But the fact is if you’re a big coffee and tea drinker and you work in front of a screen all day, cutting down on caffeine will pay dividends to your eye health. Consuming caffeine causes the body to become dehydrated and water to be directed to the more vital areas of the body. The eyes are one of the first places to suffer (and brain), so by cutting down your intake and drinking more water, you can alleviate many symptoms of CVS and you may even find you get more done.

Frequent rests

When your eyes focus on one thing for a long time — like staring at a computer screen — your blinking rate drops from 12 to 15 times a minutes to as low as 4 or 5.

You can help manage this by using natural eye drops and 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.

If you follow any of these tips for looking after your eyes at work, let it be this one: See an eye doctor for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Not only might you catch eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration early, but you could find your vision can be improved with treatments like Laser Eye Surgery.

Find out how Laser Eye Surgery can improve your eye health by booking a consultation today with one of our Patient Care Coordinators.