Working from Home? Steps to Protect Your Eyes

December 03, 2020

Working from Home? Steps to Protect Your Eyes

'The moment you wake up, you look at your phone to turn off your alarm and check your texts, news, emails, etc. Then, you wake up and get ready for work where you'll stare at your computer screen for another 8 hours. After work, you wind down and turn on the television to watch your favorite show. Then, you hop into bed and begin scrolling through social media on your phone until you knock out only to repeat a similar process the next day.' Does this scenario sound familiar?

According to a study, the average worker spends about 1,700 hours a year in front of the computer and that's just during work hours. With more people staying at home due to the pandemic, most Americans seem to be staring at screens all day. So, what are the potential consequences? What steps can we take to care & protect our eyes?


Cons of Too Much Screen Time

We weren't born to stare at bright screens all day, so as a result our eyes & health are suffering. When we look at a screen for long periods of time, we tend not to blink - blinking helps keep our eyes lubricated and comfortable.  It is estimated that 58% of people who work on the computers experience Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The symptoms include:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck & back pain

Too much screen time may also cause long term vision damage. In some countries, it has been noted that the cases of nearsightedness have almost doubled, which may be due to the increased screen time. The light that the screen emits, is similar to the colors in sunlight, which can also negatively disrupt our circadian rhythm. How so?

When the sun sets, our bodies product the hormone melatonin which helps regulate our circadian to help us feel sleepy and fall asleep. However, when we use our screens at night, the blue light from the screens can disrupt this process, making it harder for us to fall asleep or get good sleep.

In another study, those who spent few hours before bed reading e-books produced 55% less melatonin than those who read printed copies. They were also more awake before bed, had a harder time falling asleep, and were more tired in the morning. So what can you do to protect your eyes?


Steps to Protect Your Eyes

1. Stretch Your Eyes

Make time to give your eyes a break. Set a timer. Every 20-30 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object far away for a few seconds. It would also be additionally helpful if you can get up and stretch as well for a few minutes.

2. Keep Your Eyes Lubricated

You can use artificial tears to keep your eyes lubricated. Try to go for those that are preservative free and come in single use droppers.

3. Adjust Your Screen's Brightness

When your computer screen is brighter than the lighting in your surrounding, your eyes have to work extra hard. Make sure to adjust your screen's brightness to match the lighting around you. If your screen has a huge glare, you may consider investing in a matte screen filter to help reduce eyestrain.

4. Modify Your Workstation

Try not to sit too close to the screen. At least sit about an arm's length away from your computer screen and position the monitor so that your eyes are looking downwards slightly.

5. Consider Computer Glasses

You can consult with your eye doctor regarding photochromic lenses or tinted lenses. These glasses are worn to help reduce your eyes' exposure to harmful blue light emitted by your computer screen or other digital devices.