Do you spend the bulk of your time on a computer screen? Have you felt your eyes get dried out after staring at a screen for so long? If you’re like me, I spend a lot of time in front of a screen. I may not have the best eyes for work, but I do the best I can to take good care of them. By not properly taking care of your eyes, it can become an issue to performing your best at work.
Eyes for work
With more people spending time in front of screens, the health risks for your eyes increase. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a person will blink on average up to 15 times a minute. Unfortunately, people are more likely to blink less than half of that time while working in front of screens. Whether it’s for personal or professional usage, not blinking can result in dry, irritated eyes and headaches.
Eyes for work: Recent studies
There is more emphasis on employers to offer health and wellness initiatives for their employees. Based on recent research, around 92% of employees would like their employers to provide wellness initiatives; however, only 60% of employers were offering such efforts.
In another survey, one of the highlights found that employees were requesting to rest their eyes to prevent eye strain. The Transitions Optical Workplace Wellness Survey(TOWWS) consisted of 1300 adults working full-time or part-time, who worked for employers offering vision benefits. I will discuss the survey’s findings over the following points:
1.) Survey statistics on resting eyes
2.) Resting eyes as a top productivity booster
3.) Everyday tips to prevent eye strain
4.) My own best practices & experiences
Survey numbers on resting eyes
According to TOWWS (2020), the best way to improve productivity was resting eyes to prevent eye strain. Employees reported eye-resting as their top concern, requesting that their employees encourage this practice in the workplace. The following is a brief breakdown:
Nearly half of employees agreed with resting eyes as necessary for work
About 45% said receiving financial assistance for fitness
About 40% said they wanted catered lunches at work
But fewer than one-third of employers have these wellness initiatives
Resting eyes a top concern in the survey
The survey found that nearly all of the respondents (99%) said seeing well at work makes it easier to do their job effectively. Whether that is reading their screens without straining their eyes, or being bothered by glare or light. Also, around three-quarters of employees said they experienced digital eye strain at work. More so, about eight in 10 respondents said they experienced negatives symptoms working on a screen all day. These symptoms included eyestrain, back/neck/shoulder pain, and headaches.
Resting eyes a top productivity booster
There were other findings indicating eye resting as a potential solution to boost workplace productivity. These points include:
Lack of natural lighting (or bright, fluorescent lighting) negatively impacts work performance
Employees still looked at screens while taking breaks, including:
- Texting (65%)
- Checking email (61%)
- Checking social media (52%)
The Survey recommendations
The TOWWS study indicated eye health as a top concern. With more younger people entering the workforce, eye health should be a top priority. Particularly for younger generations, they’re more tech-savvy and likely spending more time on computer screens. By employers offering wellness initiatives such as vision benefits, this solution can be the best approach to increasing productivity and the quality of work.
Everyday tips to prevent eye strain
Luckily, some employees practice useful tips to avoid eye strain. Not only just for work purposes but anytime when somebody is working in front of a computer screen. Some of these tips include:
- Remember to blink: Yes, it’s easier said than done. But make some efforts into doing it right. Set an alarm clock or write down reminders on sticky notes. For example, say to yourself: “For every article, I read on the computer, I’ll blink when I start reading. Then I’ll blink again when I finish reading.”
- Sit comfortably with good posture: Sitting properly along with positioning your screen to eye-level for best results. The AOA recommends you be 25 inches away from your screen, along with proper lighting in the area you work in
- Take frequent breaks
Follow the 20/20/20 rule
One of the best ways to prevent eye strain is the 20/20/20 rule. Basically, after spending 20 minutes looking at a screen, take a 20-second break. During the brief pause, look at something 20 feet away from you. That’s how I sum it up, and something I do when I’m on a computer screen throughout the day. Please take a look at the diagram below on the simple rule itself.
Since I mostly wear contact lenses (glasses sometimes), I’m more mindful about taking care of my eyes. In recent years, I’ve had problems with eye strain working in front of computers at work. Though I was focused and very productive, my eyes dried up regularly and got irritated. So some of the best tips I keep in mind include:
- Taking regular breaks: Every 30-40 minutes, I’ll get up to move around so I can walk away from screen time temporarily.
- For moderate problems: Use eye drops- there are times when my eyes do dry up quickly. So I keep a small bottle of drops on hand.
- Adjust computer screen accordingly: I do the best I can not lean my face too close to the computer screen. If needed, zoom in or out if you need to make your text/image sizes wide enough to view.
- Dim brightness on a computer screen: Especially at nighttime, I like to dim my monitor to a comfortable viewing mode. If you have a phone, tablet, or laptop with a “night mode” option, utilize it. It helps to prevent blue light exposure close to bedtime.
With more people spending time on computer screens today, the more problems arise in regards to eye health. Eye health has become a top issue for many employees at work. The findings from the TOWWS study confirms that employers should focus on eye health for their employees. When it comes to work performance, being able to see well is necessary for increasing employee productivity and quality of work.
Do you struggle with eye strain? Does your employer offer a wellness initiative for eye health?
Are you practicing any of the tips mentioned earlier?
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