Office Work Isn’t Easy on the Eyes – Here’s How to Treat Them Right

If you spend most of your workday sitting at a desk, staring at a computer, you may be putting your eyes at risk.  Poor lighting and an improperly placed monitor, especially one that you’re looking at for a prolonged period of time, can lead to eyestrain and irritation; watery eyes and red, swollen eyelids; double vision; a decrease in the ability to focus your eyes and see clearly; headaches from straining to see clearly; and neck and back pains from hunching over to see small items.  Chances are, you’ve probably experienced at least one of these issues at some point throughout your career, but you may not have been sure of what caused them – or of how much of an effect they were having on your productivity.  Research has shown that even slight eyestrain can reduce workplace productivity by up to 20% – if you’d like to feel more focused and productive, here are some tips to avoid eyestrain and related problems:

  • Brighten up the place by placing an extra light above your workstation or on your desk. If your workspace is naturally dim, this “task lighting” can help you see more clearly.
  • Place your computer monitor at a 90-degree angle to any nearby windows and close window blinds to reduce glare from the sun.
  • Keep the top of your computer monitor even with or slightly below eye level – the top task bar on your Internet browser or computer program should be parallel with your eyes.
  • If you wear bifocals or reading glasses, adjust your monitor so that you don’t have to tilt your head back to see clearly, or look for progressive lenses with reading, mid-distance, and long-distance prescriptions.

Even if you’ve adjusted your workspace to reduce eye problems, it’s a good idea to follow the 20-20-20 Rule throughout the workday:  Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. Giving your eyes a break, even if it’s for a few seconds, should help make your workday more productive and less stressful – on your body and your mind.

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