For many of us, sitting in front of a computer screen is the reality of our work life. Unfortunately, staring at a screen all day really takes its toll on your eyes. You don’t need a new occupation – just a new routine. Here are some everyday tips for the everyday office worker:
Don’t Forget to Blink
It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed at how often people forget to do it, particularly when they’re sitting in front of a computer screen. Blinking lubricates the eyes, preventing dryness and irritation. Make a conscious effort to blink ten times every twenty minutes and let your therapeutic tears do their thing. If you’re really struggling with dry eyes, invest in some lubricating eye drops – not to be confused with eye-whitening drops, which reduce the size of blood vessels rather than easing irritation.
Exercise the 20-20-20 Rule
Focusing for too long on one thing can tire your eyes out. Every twenty minutes, spend twenty seconds looking at something twenty feet away. Looking away regularly will help the muscles inside your eyes to relax.
Get the Right Light
Office workers tread a fine line between good lighting that provides enough illumination and bright lighting that borders on glare. If you’re in a position to help choose the lighting for your office, beware of super bright lights. You need comfortable lighting that allows you to see all kinds of documents, but you don’t want to blind the workers. On the flip side, lighting that is too dark will make people feel sleepy and hinder productivity. Many workplaces have an Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) representative, if think you might need some changes to your lighting, have a friendly chat to yours.
Beware of Glare
We all know how uncomfortable it is when you’re dealing with harsh glare, but most of us don’t consider the day-to-day glare we’re subjected to in the office. Where possible, use blinds and glare screens to minimize the glare on walls and reflections off your computer. If you wear glasses, consider getting lenses that have an anti-reflective coating. It all helps to preserve your eyes.
Get the Right Settings
Working on a computer with the wrong settings can put some serious strain on your eyes. Adjust the brightness so that it has a similar brightness to your surroundings – if your screen looks like a lightbox, it’s too bright; if it looks dark and grey, it’s too dark. It’s also important to use a text size that is comfortable to read, if you’re struggling to make out the words, you’re putting unnecessary strain on your eyes.
Modify Your Position
Your overall workstation set-up plays a big role in your eye health. Try to position your monitor at least 50cm from your eyes, with the centre of your screen about 10-15 degrees below your eyes. That way, the light won’t be so intense, and you won’t be craning your neck.
Eye health is something we should take seriously regardless of whether we’re parked in front of a computer screen all day. The above tips will help to minimise the damage from office work, but there are other things we can be doing in our day-to-day lives to help maintain our eye health. Getting regular eye tests, eating healthy and wearing sunglasses all help. Find out what else you can be doing here.
Getting the right nutrients into your diet can support your overall eye health as well. Bilberry, also known as Blueberry, for example, supports your body to deal with free radical damage, while supporting visual clarity, eye strength and focus. After all, your eyesight is one of your most dominant senses – it pays to look after it.