Even as we come to the end of Healthy Vision Month in May, workplace eye health remains a year-round concern.
Whether it’s computers, tablets or phones, “screen time” is a nearly unavoidable part of today’s workplaces, regardless of industry. We spend so much time looking at screens that we’re not even aware of it. But underneath our innocent obliviousness, eye strain may be quietly wreaking havoc on our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference in your overall workplace environment—especially when it affects virtually every second an employee is at work. One easy way you can to look after your employees (so to speak) and promote a happy, healthy workforce is to instill office practices that minimize the damaging effects of eye strain.
As with so many workplace scenarios, education goes a long way toward improving the company’s overall health, so encourage your employees to read up on these problems and their solutions.
TWO COMMON WORKPLACE EYE-STRAIN ISSUES AND WAYS TO MITIGATE THEM
Problem: Dry eyes
When you look at a phone or computer screen, you go from blinking 15 times per minute to just five or seven times, leading to dry, irritated eyes.
Solution: Awareness, AC and artificial tears
Knowing is half the battle. Even though blinking is often an involuntary response, when we know we need to do it, we can make ourselves do it more frequently. Preservative-free artificial tears can help—and even prevent—dryness.
Company leadership should consider the air quality of the workplace and install filters and humidifiers as needed. Also, make sure air-conditioning vents aren’t blowing directly on anyone.
Problem: Computer Vision Syndrome
Staring at a screen leaves the eye muscles in virtually the same position for long periods of time, making them weaker. Weak eye muscles can cause refractive errors in your vision, making it harder to read or focus. Then, trying to compensate for those errors can give you headaches.
Solution: The 20-20-20 Rule
Take a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Encourage your employees to set timers or, if it suits your workspace, have leadership actively and regularly remind everyone to look away from the screen. Games or other office activities built around the 20-20-20 Rule can add fun and camaraderie while promoting strong, healthy eyes.
Other Healthy Vision Tips
- Visit an optometrist to ensure you have the correct eyewear prescription.
- Adjust your workspace lighting to reduce glare; if possible, turn off fluorescent lights.
- Reduce the brightness on your computer monitor and mobile device, and/or utilize built-in “blue light filter.”