The ongoing surges of COVID-19 have left many employees working remotely and spending more hours in front of a digital screen. While we often think of hazardous work when we consider eye safety, such as construction work or using chemicals, computer vision syndrome is a growing concern that can affect eye health and productivity.
March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, and our eye specialists at Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates in Boston hope you’ll use these tips to maintain and improve your ocular health.
What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Also known as digital eye strain, computer vision syndrome affects people of all ages and typically comes with these symptoms:
- Tired eyes
- Burning sensation
- Itchy eyes
- Dry eyes
- Blurry vision
These signs of digital eye strain can also indicate other vision problems, so it’s important to schedule an eye exam with Dr. Kornmehl as soon as you notice vision changes.
Tips to Improve Computer Vision Syndrome
You may not be able to reduce your screen time during the week, but there are ways to limit the effect your computer work has on your eyes, including:
- Position your laptop or screen at least 20 inches away from your eyes.
- Use a holder for your documents next to your screen to prevent head movement and the need to change your eye focus.
- Change the lighting in your workspace to avoid harsh glare and reflection, or invest in an anti-glare filter for your computer screen.
- Find an adjustable keyboard and chair to find the best angle for you to work. (A screen that tilts or swivels may also help.)
- Use yellow-tinted computer glasses or anti-reflective lenses to increase contrast and block the blue light that may contribute to digital eye strain.
- Schedule regular eye exams to ensure your prescription is up to date and isn’t worsening your symptoms.
Practice the 20-20-20 Rule for Screen Breaks
The American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, you should take a quick break to look 20 feet into the distance for at least 20 seconds. You can use this time to stretch your body as well. Schedule longer screen breaks throughout your workday and avoid screens on the weekends to improve your eye health and reduce computer vision syndrome symptoms.
Other Workplace Eye-Related Risks
Many employees spend hours in front of a computer every day, but other positions put your eyes in considerably more danger. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to follow eye safety measures and provide protective eyewear that shields your eyes and skin from environmental, radiation, mechanical and chemical hazards. Safety glasses, including prescription and non-prescription lenses, goggles, welding helmets, full-face respirators and face shields, should be provided to you by your employer to keep your eyes and body healthy.
Healthy vision is a critical component of your work. You need good eyesight and ocular health to be productive, independent and enjoy a good quality of life. Make your eyes a priority at work.
Schedule Your Eye Exam for Workplace Eye Wellness Month
If you struggle with computer vision syndrome symptoms or it’s time for your annual eye exam, contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates in Boston today.