The majority of jobs in contemporary times are office-based and computer dependent. In most cities, Monday mornings and almost every other day are always characterized with heavy traffic, all roads lead to the office. You see men and women gorgeously dressed in very nice corporate outfits, with corporate bags and shoes to match. They appear so prepared for the day; shoes well-polished, clothes neatly ironed, bags well packed, and off they go. Unfortunately, they seem to have prepared for everything else, except for the most important tool for the day’s work- THE EYES.
SLOW DOWN, EYES AT WORK.
A typical banker goes to the office as early as 7 am, prepares her desk and starts receiving customers from 8 am. All through the day, she looks at her computer screen severally, critically looks at filled out tellers, ensures she receives or pays out the exact figures and tediously balance accounts at the end of the transaction day. Among other things, she will be at it for the next 8-12 hours or more depending. Her eyes, hands, and head are seriously at work. A graphic designer, web developer or content/scriptwriter will sit in front of his/her computer almost the whole day, reading, writing, editing or creating. A senior executive will spend the day reading reports, signing documents, writing strategic plans and attending business meetings. A medical practitioner will take the time to read patient’s clinical history, physically examine the patients and thoroughly document findings. A lawyer will have to read, write and research extensively. One thing is common to all office-based jobs; it will require the tireless work of the eyes.
It has been found that most workers don’t take the issues of their eye health seriously, even when it is crystal clear that their productivity in their workplace depends almost completely on the quality of their eye health. They wait till they have myriads of deteriorating complaints before taking proactive steps and in many instances damages are well too advanced.
Let’s look at some of the common workplace eye health challenges:
This is largely characterized by fatigue, headaches, red eyes, pain in and around the eyes either during working hours or at the close of work. In most cases, it is caused by visual stress associated with the person’s work, except there are other underlying disease conditions. Checking the eyes to find the cause of the stress is paramount.
For most workers that are 40years and above, they experience difficulty reading tiny prints and writing comfortably. With long reading, they experience headaches, tearing and blurring of letters. The major reason is that the lens of the eyes has lost flexibility with age and hence, cannot focus clearly at near anymore. A doctor recommended reading glasses will solve the problem.
Computer Vision Syndrome
This is a medical classification for all eye symptoms experienced during or after the use of gadgets (computers, tablets, phones etc.). Some of the symptoms include:
- Digital eye fatigue – consistent exposure to blue lights from digital screens most times will result in excessively tired eyes, muscle/brow aches, headaches, and even red eyes.
- Dry eyes – the blue light from these screens prevents the normal blinking of the eyes, as a result, the eyes feel dry and irritated. Many complain of mild pain or ‘peppery sensation’.
- Blurred distance vision – computer users may notice blurred distance vision immediately after extensive work on their screen because it alters the eye’s accommodative system.
Depending on the type, it will affect work and productivity. Myopic workers (short-sighted) will see things clearly when they are close but will struggle to see letters on a projector screen or the face of the speaker in a conference hall. Hyperopic workers (long sighted) may see things that are far away, but find difficulty with near. Astigmatic workers will find both near and far not clear, with frequent headaches, itching, tearing and even drowsiness (sleeping instead of working). Having a comprehensive eye examination is most recommended.
Eye health safety tips in the workplace
- Maintain eye safe office environment
- Ensure the lighting in the office is even and without glare
- Reduce eye hazards where possible
- Follow proper computer eye safety measures
- Wear appropriate computer lenses or use a screen shield
- Take regular breaks
- Learn how to frequently blink while looking at a screen
- For every 20mins take a 20secs break and look 20 feet away
- Keep the computer in the right position and sit properly
- Update your eyeglasses
- Use your eyeglasses consistently as recommended by your doctor
- Replace your old worn out lenses
- Have annual comprehensive eye examination
Next: eyes at work (episode 3)