March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Did you know that there is a month that is designated to Workplace Eye Health and Safety? Going to work can seem perfectly safe, especially if you work behind a desk. However, decisions that you make at work can affect your long-term eye health. Eye injuries are not limited to abrasions, chemical splashes or foreign objects. Even working in an office can pose a threat to eye safety.

Extensive exposure to computer screens, tablets and smartphones during the workday can cause computer vision syndrome. Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include eye fatigue, dry eye, back and neck pain, eye twitching, lack of concentration, headaches, and tiredness. While these symptoms can be uncomfortable and annoying, millions of Americans are required to complete much of their work on computers and electronic devices. What, then, are we to do?

If your job requires you to be on your computer for most of the day, there are specific precautions that you can take to protect your vision and prevent digital eye strain.

  1. Stay current with your comprehensive eye exams. Talk to your ophthalmologist about how often you should be getting your eyes examined and follow that advice. Regular eye exams are a key component to your vision health and can be a great opportunity to get an assessment of your overall wellness. Many people have been surprised to hear from their ophthalmologist that they may have hypertension or diabetes.
  2. Invest in some computer eyewear. Your ophthalmologist can prescribe eyewear that is specifically designed for computer use. This can help relieve digital eye strain and make your eyes comfortable.
  3. Take breaks often. Sitting in front of a computer for extended periods of time is not good for your eyes or for your circulation. Extended hours sitting in front of your computer can strain your eyes and increase risk for blood clots. Stretching, walking around, getting a drink of water, and resting your eyes are all important activities to do several times per day. It also helps break up the monotony of an afternoon!
  4. Remember the 20-20-20 Rule. Even if you are confined to your desk, you should give your eyes a break at regular intervals. Every 20 minutes, you should look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This will allow your eyes to relax and prevent strain and fatigue.
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