There is an abundance of literature detailing how to care for your eyes if you work outside: always wear sunglasses, take frequent breaks, and if you work with hazardous materials, use eye protection. But what about indoor eye health? If you spend all day at a desk, how do you keep your vision at its best?
Push Away the Paper
If you spend most of your time at work dealing with paperwork, your eyes are under strain. Continuously reading small print in less-than-optimal lighting conditions puts stress on your eyes, and over time your eyes will water, your vision will blur, and you may even feel queasy as your eyes struggle to stay focused. When these symptoms occur, stop and change your point of view. Look outside, across the office, or speak to a colleague for a few minutes and give your eyes a chance to relax. If you can, step outside for a few minutes to get some natural light. Although Health Canada has not identified any direct correlation between compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and vision problems, the agency does note that some individuals are sensitive to CFLs, reporting both headache and vision strain over time.
Once back at your desk, do a few quick eye exercises. Start by slowly rolling your eyes three times in each direction, and then take a break with your eyes closed. Next, shut your eyes tightly for a few seconds, and then open them wide. Repeat this five times, and then rest again for several minutes with your eyes closed before getting back to work.
Optimize Your Workspace
Many employees depend on computers to complete their work, but according to the British Columbia Association of Optometrists (BCAO), too much time spent staring at a screen can cause what is known as computer vision syndrome (CVS), which is characterized by blurred vision, headaches, and eye strain. The BCAO recommends that users sit straight up when using computers and ensure that they are looking slightly downward at their monitors. In addition, office workers should adjust contrast and brightness settings to reduce glare and move any desk lights which cause screen glare. Every twenty minutes, look away from the screen and take a twenty-second break.
Consider an Alternative
If you wear eyeglasses or contacts at work, you may experience increased eye strain depending on lighting conditions. While most glasses have an anti-glare coating, they are effectively a second small screen between your eyes and your computer monitor and partially limit your field of vision. Contacts, meanwhile, can cause increased eye irritation if you are working long hours or have not had the chance to take a break. Laser vision correction offers a way to increase visual acuity by reshaping your eye itself, providing improved focus and often glare reduction.
Indoor eye health is a critical component of long-term vision care. Take a break as needed, set up an ideal workspace, and consider the benefits of LASIK at LASIK MD as a way to help ease eye strain.