How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy at Work

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You’ve made health and wellness critical to your daily life. You’ve dedicated lots of energy to eating right and being active, but are you neglecting a key area of your health?

If you spend most of your waking hours staring at a computer screen, as many of us do, then your eyes are under constant strain.

The good news: The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AOA) recognizes that our daily routine of staring at computers, tablets, and phones shouldn’t cause permanent eye damage. However, tech creates numerous inconveniences that, over time, can become significant health issues. Dry, fatigued eyes, headaches, and computer vision syndrome are just some of these problems that can affect your quality of life. Here’s a look at two of the most common workplace eye health issues and how you can protect your eyes at work.

The Problem: Dry Eyes

The AOA reports that the average person blinks up to 18 times a minute. When working at a screen, they blink less than half of that amount. The result: dry, irritated eyes.

The Solution:

Blink! It’s that simple. Get creative about reminding yourself to do it: Use Post-It notes, set an alarm, or tell yourself, “For every new email I open, I’ll blink when I start reading and again when I finish it.”

Artificial tears can also be used multiple times a day whenever your eyes feel dry. What it all boils down to is that your eyes need lubrication. Just be sure to avoid eyedrops if you are experiencing any signs of an infection.

The Problem: Eye Fatigue

We’ve all felt this. You just spent a marathon session in front of the computer all you want to do is close your tired eyes.

The Solution:

Sit comfortably with good posture in a well-lit room. The AOA recommends that you sit at least 25 inches from your screen, and that you position it lower than eye level so you gaze down slightly at it. Reduce glare with proper lighting, and/or use anti-glare film over your screen.

Take frequent breaks. Get up and walk around. At the very least, give your eyes the break they need with the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This will keep your eyes energized for the day.

These simple tips will go a long way toward protecting your eyes in the office, but it’s also critical to discuss eye care with your provider, make sure your prescriptions are up to date, eat well, and get adequate sleep at night to give your eyes the rest, lubrication, and nutrients they need.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

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