Tips for better eye health at work

Khuram Sarwar Khuram Sarwar
Thursday, 29 February 2024
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Early starts, late nights and hours spent hunched over the computer can take a toll on your eyes if you’re not careful. The modern workplace is full of influences that can cause your eyes discomfort, especially if you’re a contact lenses wearer. Air conditioning, indoor heating, bright lighting and extended screen time can all affect your eyes over the course of a long working day.

While we appreciate the irony of posting an online blog on the negative effects of computer screens, we’d like to take this opportunity to offer some helpful advice on how to ensure the safety of your eyes while at work.

Give your eyes a break

While we know that deadlines are often looming and there is a need for efficiency in many workplaces, it won’t spell the end of the world if a few times throughout the day you spend a couple of minutes practising these eye exercises:

20-20-20 rule

It’s easy to learn and simply involves taking a break from looking at the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away.

Pen exercise

To keep your eyes on their toes, hold a pen far away and whilst focussing on the tip of it, gradually move it closer to your eyes until it blurs then move it further away again.

Eye rolling

Try rotating your eyes clockwise and anti-clockwise every now and then; this may look a tad unusual, but it will help loosen up the muscles.

Blinking exercise

Constant digital screen use can reduce the rate at which you might be blinking. This can bring on dry eyes. Try gently closing the eyes for 2 seconds, squeezing the lids together for another 2 seconds, and opening again (repeat 5 times).

Wear computer glasses

Computer glasses are designed to be worn whenever using digital devices such as laptops, PCs and mobile phones. There are different types of computer glasses, all of which have the purpose of protecting your eyes from the harmful effects that can be brought on by excessive screen use.

Blue light glasses feature a special coating that filters out blue light from digital screens which can potentially reduce digital eye strain. Prescription computer glasses enhance your screen experience whilst meeting your vision correction needs. Anti-reflective computer glasses reduce reflections from digital devices, so your vision is sharp when you look at your screen.

Adjust your computer

Prevention is better than cure, so making a few simple changes to your computer can protect your eyes in the long run:

Anti reflection cover

Another surefire way to protect your eyes from the computer screen and the drying effects that the light can have on your eyes is to invest in an anti-reflection cover.

These covers are specifically designed to reduce the glare and block out harmful light rays from the screen and won’t set you back too much at all. Maybe your boss will even cover the cost under office expenses if you ask nicely!

Change your display settings

Using a computer to get your work done is unavoidable in the office these days, so make the best of it and ensure your computer is equipped to cater for your eyes over the course of the working day.

A higher quality resolution will make it easier on your eyes, while the brightness should be adjusted to match the light conditions around the screen.

Watch out for heating and air conditioning

In most offices, there’ll be either indoor heating or air conditioning on all day long (depending on the time of the year). Frustratingly, both can be particularly trying on the eyes over extended periods of time.

If your eyes start feeling dry, either of these could be a major factor, so you’ll need to stay vigilant. In instances where your eyes start to feel dry but you’re not in a position to switch off the air conditioning or heating, rate your symptoms using our dry eyes quiz, then apply a few drops of some lubricating eye drops.

Pack a healthy lunch

Ordering takeaways or bringing in a packed sandwich from your local supermarket can be tempting for anyone with a busy lifestyle and hectic work schedule. However, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, especially at lunchtime, is important for keeping your eyes healthy and vision sharp.

There are a range of foods you can add to your diet to boost your eye health, including carrots, spinach, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, citric fruits, pork and beef to your diet, while you’ll also find that oily fish offer plenty of omega 3 and fatty acids to promote healthy eyes and clear sight.

Make sure you’ve got the right contact lenses in

You should be prescribed contact lenses to cater for the requirements of your eyes, so if you find that your eyes are suffering from recurring dryness or irritation at work, it might be the case that alternative contact lenses are better suited to your lifestyle.

Perhaps you need lenses with a higher water content, better breathability or a lens designed for extended periods of wear. Whatever the case, it’s worth speaking with your optician or eye care practitioner to discuss which lenses would be best for your eyes to stand up to the demands of the workplace.

It’s very important that you consult with your eye care practitioner before changing the type of contact lenses you wear.

Use Personal Protective Equipment PPE

This does not apply to all workplaces; however, it is an employer’s legal duty to provide appropriate PPE for the safety of their employees. There are different types of PPE, and the type you require depends on the industry you work in:

Construction and heavy-duty roles

If you work in an environment that has falling debris, swinging objects or the risk of bumping your head, then you will usually require protection for your head, eyes, body and feet.

Healthcare workers

Whilst healthcare workers may not necessarily require helmets, depending on their role, they may require hand gloves, gowns or aprons, goggles and masks.

Avoid being one of the millions of people across the globe who suffer from job-related eye injuries with these simple tips. If you would like personalised advice on how to protect your eyes when working, consult with a medical professional.

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