Is your office job harming your eye health?

By Ashish Mathur, eye care expert, Feel Good Contacts  

Early morning starts and late evenings spent in front of a computer and smart phone screen have become the norm for today’s busy office worker. All that time in front of a bright screen coupled with air conditioning, heating and bright room lighting can have a negative impact on your eyes. In fact, extensive use of computers can lead to computer vision syndrome (CVS), where eyes become dry, tired and even strained.

While not causing any permanent damage, common symptoms of CVS (including eye fatigue, physical tiredness, eye twitching and red eyes) can cause a lot of discomfort and irritation in the short term.  In addition, use of digital screens often limits the amount of time that we blink, therefore denying our eyes the hydration they need to stay moist and healthy. Dry eye syndrome is when our eyes have become dried out, as a result of tear ducts no longer producing adequate natural tears that our eyes need.

Here are some tips on how to avoid CVS and dry eye syndrome and keep your eyes in mint condition from the start of the day to the very end.

Blink regularly

When you’re deeply focused on a task, you tend to blink less, even if you don’t realise it. If you’re not blinking enough, your eyes are not receiving regular hydration and moisture from your tears. As a result, your eyes will begin to feel dry and irritated. Get into the habit of deliberately blinking more often. Don’t worry if you look odd suddenly bursting into 100 blinks a minute – your eyes will thank you for it. I always follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.

Watch the brightness of your computer screen

It’s a good idea to check the brightness of your computer screen. If it’s set to the highest setting, turn it down slightly and see if it makes any difference to how your eyes feel. An incredibly bright screen can be very harsh on the eyes so you can minimise glare by dusting your computer monitor and investing in an anti-reflection cover. Also take note of the lighting around your computer; try to create equal brightness in your workspace so there’s no shadowy areas or glare from lamps.

Take a break

I know it can be difficult to take a moment to yourself in a busy office with reports to write and deadlines looming, but a 5-10-minute coffee break can work wonders. Give both yourself and your eyes a rest from your computer screen so you’re not too burnt out by the end of the day. Aside from that, simply just looking away from your computer screen for a minute or so every now and again can give your eyes a much-needed break. When you do get back to your desk from your break, make sure that you’re not too close or too far from the screen. Both positions will cause eye strain.

Wear the right contact lenses

If you wear contact lenses and you’re suffering from dry eyes, then you may want to opt for a silicone hydrogel lens. But, of course, if you plan to make changes to your lenses, then it’s important to consult your eye care practitioner first so that they can check your eye health and recommend the best contact lenses for you.

Stock your office desk with some handy supplies

There are a few products that you may want to keep close to you to help fight tired and dry eyes throughout the day, including eye drops, wipes and mist.

As a last note, make sure you drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration which, aside from making your eyes feel dry, will also make you feel drained overall.

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