Protecting Your Eyesight at the Office

If you’re like most of us, you probably spend the majority of the time that you are at work staring at a computer screen. You may not think about it much, but this means that your eyes are under a lot of daily stress. Don’t panic, though: it shouldn’t be enough to cause permanent eye damage, but it could cause a whole host of health issues that can annoy you and impact your quality of life. Here are some tips for protecting your vision at work:

Did you know that the fluorescent lights in office buildings are often too bright for optimal, comfortable vision? According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), light that is at about half the brightness of typical office levels is preferred. Removing a few of the bulbs from your direct overhead lighting can help, and so can turning those off and working by lamplight. Consider keeping the brightness down on your monitor as well.

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. This is going to result in dry, irritated eyes.
Find a system to remind yourself to blink, whether it’s a little sign or a digital notification when you’re planning to engage in a long session of deep work.

Artificial tears can be used multiple times a day whenever your eyes feel dry. There is a variety of great over the counter options that work for everyone. These can be a real lifesaver for contact lens wearers with computer-heavy jobs.

Make sure that your workspace allows you to sit comfortably using good posture, too. The AOA recommends that you sit at least 25 inches from your screen and that you position it just lower than eye level so you gaze down slightly at it. Reduce glare with proper lighting, and consider using an anti-glare film or shade over your screen. Anti-glare “computer glasses” are also available. Ask your optometrist!

Take frequent breaks. Get up and walk around, and you will benefit your whole body at the same time. The AOA recommends that you give your eyes a healthy break using 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 and working optimally.