The Effect On Your Eyes Working In The City (London)

London skyline by sonewfangled, on Flickr

The effects of working in the city can take its toll on your eyes. From air pollution and lighting, to digital screens and even reading, everyday our eyes face a barrage of stimuli and we barely even blink at the thought of long term damage. But luckily for us, taking care of our eyes doesn’t have to be a full time job.

Through solely being more conscious of the various sources of potential problems, we can prolong healthy vision for years and years to come.

Let’s take an in-depth look at the common causes of eye problems which are prevalent in the city, each with their own actionable steps you can easily incorporate into your daily life.

Air Pollution

The effects of air pollution on our health has long been documented. However, when it comes to our eye sight, some experts believe there is a knowledge gap between the effects of air pollution on our vision, and awareness of how to manage prevention.

Many studies link air pollution to dry eye syndrome—a condition which is widespread and easily exacerbated in the life of someone working in the city.

According to the London Air project based at Kings College, very high levels of air pollution may induce a dry throat, sore eyes, and a tickly cough, even in the healthiest of individuals.

What You Can Do

Certain environmental factors such as air pollution are difficult to avoid, but there are proven steps you can take to minimise their effects and safeguard your long term vision.

The effects of wind, smog, and extreme climate conditions such as heatwaves on your eyes can be reduced by the use of sunglasses, umbrellas, and even adequate blinking.

When thinking in terms of prevention, staying well hydrated will help with dry eyes. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy diet will also help keep your eyes in a good shape. Carrots, eggs, blueberries, tomatoes—these are all great sources of eye-protecting nutrients.

Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain, or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), is a common condition among office workers and yet, only one in five are aware of it.

CVS comes from an overuse of screens such as computers, smartphones, televisions, and tablets, and is the result of prolonged periods of time staring, and the eye constantly needing to refocus in processing graphics and text.

CVS is often characterised by red and sore eyes, dry eyes, headaches, neck and back pain, and fatigue, and if unaddressed, can lead to permanent vision problems.

What You Can Do

One of the first and most effective things you can do is to improve your working environment. For many of us, working at a computer is a large part of our daily lives, yet little time is given to how we do it. Observe your posture—it is recommended that your monitor be slightly below eye level and at a distance of at least 20-26 inches from your eyes.

Play around with the configuration of the brightness and contrast of your screen to suit the lighting in your workspace, and if possible adjust the lighting of your external environment to minimise the presence of harsh overhead lights— lower intensity and fluorescent bulbs are ideal. In addition, make sure the size of the text you are reading is appropriate as to avoid squinting or straining your eyes.

Give Your Eyes A Break

Medical professionals recommended following the 20-20-20 rule. To do this, take a break from the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds by looking at an object that is 20 feet away. This allows the muscles that control focusing of the eye to relax and helps to prevent digital eye strain.

An alternative approach is to use the Pomodoro technique. The time management method developed in the 1980s, is characterised by a 25 minute working interval followed by a 5 minute break—ideal for breaking up modern day working patterns.

Long Term Care

Without a doubt the best measure you can take to safeguarding your long term eye heath is to have a comprehensive eye exam. Take note of how many hours you spend engaging in optically strenuous activities such as reading and using screens, and book yourself an appointment to see a specialist optometrist.

If you would like to book a consultation at London Vision Clinic, or find out more about how Laser Eye Surgery can benefit your eye sight, leave us a comment or give us a call on 020 7224 1005.