Dry eyes. Eye strain. Blurred vision. Headaches. Sound familiar?
Last year, the average American spent almost 11 hours a day looking at a glowing square or rectangle — a 1-hour jump up from 2017. From smartphones and tablets to laptops and desktops, we’re spending more time on more devices, at home and at work.
And our eyes are feeling the effects.
Less screen time = better eye health
Most of us have at least heard about the scientific research on how excessive screen time can negatively affect overall health. And we’re familiar with the idea that limiting computer and TV time can improve sleep, school performance and behavior in children, as the 2014 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics shows.
But even as we encourage our young ones to log off more often for their health, we tend to forget how much tech time we as adults subject ourselves to on the job, and how it directly affects our eye health and safety.
Fortunately, you can protect your eyes and avoid common eye issues you experience at work — just by making a few adjustments to your lifestyle and work environment.
Learn about reducing eye strain and making healthy vision a priority with this invaluable guide, courtesy of our experts here at Perrysburg Eye Center!
We tend to forget how much tech time we as adults subject ourselves to on the job, and how it directly affects our eye health and safety.
More than 10 million visits to the eye doctor each year are connected to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Symptoms include:
The good news? All our gawking at lit screens usually shouldn’t cause any permanent harm to our eyeballs, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AOA).
The bad news? Many of these annoying yet seemingly minor troubles our eyes experience with all this tech time can become more than a nuisance, with potential significant health problems if left untreated.
Screen exposure can lead to
You know the saying: Better safe than sorry. Do yourself a favor and learn 5 ways you can put workplace eye health into practice.
For starters, if you’re lucky and have some control over your office lighting, try dimming or filtering overhead lighting. Also, incorporate as much natural light as possible (full-spectrum bulbs achieve a natural effect). You can also use a soft-light lamp to avoid the glare of overhead fluorescents.
And keep an eye on the time of day and where your windows are in relation to you. The glare from the sun is worse at different points throughout the workday, so you don’t want to be directly facing toward the window.
If making changes to your office’s lighting is a no-go, you still have some viable options for steering clear of eye strain. A quick fix most of us forget is to turn down the brightness on your
to something easy on the eyes while still allowing readability.
Another easy change? Increase the character size on your phone and computer to a comfortable level, so you don’t have to lean in and squint.
Blue light, emitted by both our digital devices and the sun, is a common cause of headaches and eye strain. Quick physics 101 lesson: We wear sunglasses to block ultraviolet rays (UV) — the invisible, high-energy radiation from sunlight.
The next highest energy radiation comes in the form of blue-violet light (HEV), also known as blue light, which is visible — and roughly ⅓ of all visible light is considered blue light. It’s what makes the sky appear blue!
There are a few benefits of blue light, like promoting some vitamin D production in the body. But our eyes aren’t great at filtering it out, so long-term exposure to it leaves your eyes susceptible to changes resembling macular degeneration, potentially leading to permanent vision damage or loss.
The more we use blue-light-emitting devices, the more we’re putting our eyes at risk. That’s why, instead, we should:
This one’s simple: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
TIP: Use your phone to set a reminder to pop up every 20 minutes. We can’t completely eliminate technology from our lives, so why not use it to our advantage and remind us to give our eyes a break?
Incorporating eye-healthy foods into your diet — those high in zinc, vitamins C and E, and omega-3s (think leafy greens, citrus fruits and fish) — can help keep your eyeballs in tiptop shape, and drinking lots of water hydrates your eyes.
The average person blinks up to 18 times per minute, but less than half that when in front of a screen, which irritates the eyes. When you blink, tears moisten your corneas, keeping your eyes healthy and in working order.
Remembering to blink, getting your daily dose of water and lubricating your eyes with artificial tears occasionally if needed will help combat dry eyes!
There are glasses that filter blue light and reduce glare to help prevent eye maladies due to screens.
But not all eye issues are computer-related. Some jobs, by their very nature, put your eyes at risk. And workplace eye injuries are frequent — nearly 2,000 American workers a day experience injuries on the job necessitating medical treatment.
From cornea scrapes and chemical burns to infrared exposure and flying foreign objects, your eyes are potentially in peril if you’re working a higher-risk job without wearing eye protection — or wearing the wrong kind.
3 out of 5 workers who sustain eye injuries on the job aren’t wearing eye protection.
Many eye hazards can be avoided when you wear goggles, safety glasses or face shields. Ask your employer about conducting a workplace eye hazard assessment and eyewear requirements.
You can also visit our Optical Shop in Perrysburg to learn about the best options for how you can get and use appropriate protective eyewear.
Who knew something so routine could save your life?
It’s more than just reading some letters off the wall. When you get an eye exam, your eye doctor is able to establish your health baseline and identify health risks — no matter how young or old you are.
For most working adults, scheduling a regular exam every 2 years should be adequate to make sure your eyes are getting the proper care they need.
Schedule your eye exam with Perrysburg Eye Center today!
Get more information about quality eyewear and eye care by calling Perrysburg Eye Center at (419) 874-3125, schedule your first visit as a patient, and make sure to stop by our optical shop!