After using your mind at work all day, you can go home and decompress. If your job is more physically active, you can go home and stretch. But what about something else you rely on at work: your vision? March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, and it’s a great reminder to take good care of your eyes, which work with you every day.
Common Work-Related Vision Problems
Eye Strain. You can overuse your eyes, just like you can overwork any part of your body. Excessive reading, working in front of a computer, long hours of driving, or any work that results in uninterrupted visual focus is taxing on your eyes.
Dry Eyes. One of the most common ailments of workplace vision problems is dry eyes. While you can use products like Restasis to alleviate the discomfort, it is also a good idea to adjust brightness of screens and use humidifiers if the air is too dry.
Red Eyes. Bloodshot or red eyes are caused by blood vessels that are irritated. Poor sleep, allergies, eye strain, allergies, sun damage or pinkeye (a contagious condition you could get from coworkers) could all be causes. Make sure your workplace is free of allergens (such as dust) that is irritating your eyes.
Factors that Worsen Vision in the Workplace
Existing vision problems. Be sure to address any issues you already have with your vision. Using your eyes for work without updated prescription or wearing the right eyewear will only worsen your near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism.
Lacking personal lighting. If you often review documents or items up close, a desk lamp may provide the lighting that the overhead lights aren’t adequately giving. If you are mainly looking at your computer screen, adjust the lighting to a proper level and look away to rest your eyes every half hour.
Poor lighting. Your vision could be strained due to working in fluorescent, too-bright or too-dim lighting. This is often a simple matter of needing to change light bulbs or add shades to bare and too-bright bulbs.
Prolonged staring. It’s great to have focus at work, but to stare at a screen or activity for a long time is taxing on your eyes. Remember to blink, close your eyes for a few moments, and to give your eyes a rest by looking at an object in the distance.
Tips to Improve Workplace Environment for Vision
Here are some practical tips for how to improve vision conditions at work.
If you work outdoors in a brighter climate, wear proper sunglasses, visor, brimmed hat or tinted goggles.
If you work in front on a computer screen, adjust the brightness to a clear but comfortable level.
Take breaks, even to look away for a few moments and blink. Develop this habit to prevent eye strain and dryness.
Adjust your screen so that it does not have direct glare from windows or overhead lights.
See your optometrist at regular scheduled times, and make sure to be wearing the proper prescription for your eyeglasses or corrective contact lenses if you have near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism.
If you often work in the evenings, be sure to schedule your time so that you stop working at least 2 hours before bed so your eyes have enough of a rest period before sleep. Not only will this be helpful for your vision, but disconnecting from screens’ melatonin-suppressing lights is also better for your sleep health.
We hope this has given you some helpful information and tips on how to make your everyday work environment and routine a healthier one for your vision!