Early mornings, late evenings, and countless hours being spent in front of a cold blue screen. Does all of this sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone, and if you aren’t careful, this lifestyle can harm your eyes.
This is exactly why we’ve compiled some eye-protection tips to help you protect your eyes from the strain caused by office life. You see, most modern workplaces are flooded with influences that result in causing discomfort in our eyes, particularly if we already wear spectacles or contact lenses.
These factors include bright lighting, indoor heating, air conditioning, long hours of using digital screens. All of these factors combined tend to take a toll on an employees' eyes, especially if they’re working long hours.
The good news is that there are some things you can do to protect your eyes, whether you’re working from home or going to your 9-to-5.
1. Blink Regularly While Using Your Computer
One of the main problems with using digital screens for long hours is that we stop blinking at a regular rate. This is a very common habit if your work mainly involves using a computer screen. The inevitable result of this is dry eyes since they are not receiving the moisture they would from blinking.
While there is an ounce of irony about writing a blog post describing the negative effects of computer screens on the eyes, this is as good an opportunity as any to advise you to practice blinking.
If you’ve been focusing on a computer screen for an hour or so and suddenly start blinking repeatedly, your colleagues might think you’ve gone crazy. However, if you try to blink regularly, you will get used to doing so when you feel the strain of the screen.
2. Invest In an Anti-Glare Screen
One surefire way of protecting your eyelids from the drying effect of computer screens is to invest in an anti-glare screen cover. These products are specially designed to block harmful rays from your computer screen without affecting your productivity or the performance of your monitor.
Perhaps if you asked nicely, your organization might cover the cost of having these contraptions installed on all the computers in their offices.
3. Protect Yourself From Air Conditioning and Heating
Most offices have indoor air conditioning and heating systems running throughout the day. While it may feel comfortable on your body, excessive use of both of these elements can be harmful to your eyes.
If your eyes begin to feel dry, both of these factors could be the cause, which is why you will need to stay vigilant. In instances where your eyes begin to feel dry and you aren’t able to switch off the heating or air conditioning, you should start carrying eye drops. If your eyes feel uncomfortable, pop a few rewetting drops in your eyes and they should feel alright again.
4. Adjust Your Computer’s Display Settings
Nowadays, computer usage is unavoidable in the workplace, which is why you should preemptively pick a laptop/computer that is well-equipped to cater to your eye health. If you can’t invest in a new device, you can always adjust your current computer’s settings to make it easier to work with.
For instance, you could start by adjusting the size of the text and the computer’s contrast levels so that text is easier to read. Another effective way of reducing eye strain is to tweak the device’s color temperature so that it is less of a blue tone and has more of a yellow tinge. You can also choose to fiddle with other helpful settings on your work computer to see what works best with your eyes.
In addition, make sure to read up on the key symptoms of eye strain due to digital screens. By being aware of the symptoms, you will be quick on taking immediate action to ease your discomfort. There are numerous ways of dealing with eye strain, so it wouldn’t hurt to experiment. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to protect your eyes if you know what you’re doing.
5. Exercise Your Eyes
There are numerous games that people play to improve their eyesight and these can also be used to relieve eye stress caused during work hours. Here’s an example of an exercise you can try for yourself when your eyes feel strained.
Start by picking up a pen or a pencil and holding it far away from your face. Focus on the piece of stationery and gradually bring it closer to your nose and then take it far away again.
If this exercise doesn’t seem to benefit your eyes, try turning your eyes clockwise and then anticlockwise now and then to loosen up the strain. Sure, the exercise may seem a little unusual, but it works.
6. Stop Taking Smoke Breaks
If you’re a smoker, you will be interested to find that one of the known dangers of this harmful habit is that it affects your vision and eye health. One of these risks includes early formations of cataracts. These cataracts tend to cloud your vision and can only be removed with surgery. In addition, smoking has also been known to lead to macular degeneration and even vision loss.
7. Eat a Healthy Lunch
If you have a hectic lifestyle or a busy work schedule, it may seem tempting to buy a packed sandwich from the local grocery store or to order takeaways. However, by maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, especially during lunchtime, you can keep your vision sharp and eyes healthy.
There is a large variety of foods that boost eye health and can easily be added to your daily meals. This includes citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, spinach, carrots, beef, and pork. Other than these, you should also know that oily fish consist of a healthy amount of fatty and omega 3 acids that promote clear sight and healthy eyes.
8. Take Periodic Breaks
Most office spaces are buzzing with tight deadlines and every organization emphasizes the need for efficiency. However, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you averted your gaze from the computer screen now and then.
It doesn’t even have to be your eyes that remind you to take a break. If your office chair is hurting you, pause whatever you’re doing for a minute and stretch your legs or take a short walk around the office.
Similarly, don’t forget to rest your eyes by going on bathroom breaks, making yourself a drink, or talking to your colleagues. These periodic breaks can have a very positive effect on your eyes and may just be the boost you need to perhaps add those final touches to your projects.
9. The 20-20-20 Game
Speaking of periodic breaks, there is a practice that is followed by thousands of employees in the US called the 20-20-20 Game. This practice makes sure you give your eyes some rest when you cannot look away from your computer screen. Also, this game is relatively easy to learn.
How this works is that you need to look away from your screen after every 20-minutes, continue looking away for 20-seconds, and focus on something that is at least 20 feet away from you. Pretty simple right?
The 20-20-20 Game is designed to give your eyes a quick power nap of sorts from focusing intently on the computer screen. Once you’ve tried this game for yourself, try and notice how your rate of blinking will return to normal.
10. Modify Your Desk
There are many ways by which your work desk arrangements can result in eye strain. For this reason, you should always try to sit approximately an arms’ length away from the computer screen. This also means that you should be able to high-five your monitor by fully extending your arm.
Most of the time, remaining seated for hours at a time causes employees to slouch closer to the screen, which is one reason offices buy standing desks. By periodically standing up and sitting down while working, you will not only get a moment to rest your eyes but will also fix your posture so that your computer monitor remains at eye level or even 4- to 5-inches short.
Similarly, what kind of seat you sit on at the office is also very important for your overall posture and eye health. For this reason, you should make sure that your office chair is built to offer an adequate level of lumbar support.
Now that we enlightened you with 10 simple tips on how to protect your eyes in the workplace or while working from home, all that’s left for you to do is start practicing what you’ve learned. Within no time, you will get rid of your symptoms of digital eye strain and your productivity will be back on track.