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How to keep your eyes healthy at work

Aug, 2023
Steffen Itte, translation by Carolyn Thompson

With the digital takeover in recent years plus the sudden transition to working from home catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s more need than ever to keep an eye out for our vision (no pun intended…). Read on to find out about the dreaded “computer vision syndrome”, how it’s caused, and how to beat it.

Do you suffer from computer vision syndrome?

Do you spend multiple hours a day in front of a screen?

Are you burdened with:

  • dry/itchy/irritated/watery eyes, 
  • headaches,
  • feeling dizzy or nauseous, 
  • sensitivity to light, 
  • the sensation that you have got something in your eye
  • and/or blurred vision?

If yes, then it’s possible you’ve been in the firing line for computer vision syndrome.

What’s more, this issue may affect your sleep since blue light interferes with your inner circadian rhythm by delaying the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

But let’s not skew off topic.This issue impacts our physical health and our sleep – for one, that’s no way to achieve a good work-life balance. That’s why we’ve got some tips to help you get to the root of the problem and nip it in the bud.

What causes this problem?

It can be caused by multiple factors:

  • incorrect distance from the screen
  • incorrect screen settings
  • not blinking enough
  • wrong/poor lighting
  • lack of ventilation, dry heating air 

So how to alleviate the problem?

  • The 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet (6m) away for 20 seconds.
  • Check your distance from the screen! According to screen size for 50-75cm, make sure the upper edge sits at around 10cm below your eye level. Also tilt the screen 5 degrees backwards. You can also do the “arm test”. If you think you are sitting too close to the screen, outstretch your arm while sitting in your usual working position – if you can touch the screen, you are most definitely sitting too close!
  • Check your screen settings: low amount of blue light and a high contrast are recommended, but in general, every person has his/her own preference.
  • If you work with multiple screens, make sure they all have the same brightness settings and are located right next to each other (no gap between them).
  • Lighting: The lighting in your office is also important. Make sure you have a source of (natural or artificial) light, ideally shining in from the side of your desk.

And finally: make sure you are blinking enough! When staring at a screen we often blink significantly less than usual. Ensure you blink enough to help prevent dry eyes.

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