Eye Health Recommendations for Home Workers
Many of our patients have continued to work from home following the relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown, and in nearly every case, working from home has resulted in an increase in time spent in front of a computer screen. Increased screen time can result in a variety of problems ranging from weary eyes to neck or back pain, but there are a few relatively basic steps you can take to alleviate these symptoms.
•To begin, ensure that you have the most up-to-date glasses for screen use. The best glasses for screen viewing for people over the age of 40 are purpose-built for this purpose and are referred to as office lenses, improved readers, or intelligent readers. These aren’t really varifocals (which have a narrow viewing area for screens), but lenses are engineered to provide a large clear area for screen use, reducing tiredness and promoting excellent posture for a healthy back and neck. While these lenses provide the greatest depth of focus, fixed focus computer glasses is an alternative.
• Even minor medicines can have a significant impact. This is because staring at a screen is a visually demanding activity. As a result, you may have a low prescription that aids with prolonged screen use but is not used for anything else. Correcting a minor prescription using computer glasses might help alleviate eye strain and headaches.
• Align your screen properly. Your screen should be slightly below, not above, your eye line. This is because your eyes naturally turn in and down little as you stare at the screen distance. If you are required to gaze up at any part of your screen, this can result in eye strain as your eyes must compensate for the natural small downward bend. Your screen’s top edge should be no higher than eye level.
• If your monitor is older than two years, the contrast and clarity will deteriorate, making viewing less comfortable. If you intend to continue working from home, it is very necessary to invest in a high-quality monitor.
•Some people find it beneficial to reduce blue light from their screens by wearing glasses with a blue-blocking coating. Our optometrists can advise you on how this can help with eye strain reduction.
• The background should not be too bright — avoid placing your screen directly in front of a window. It will create glare, brightness, and distraction, which will cause your eyes too weary. A plain wall behind your screen is preferable, but an aside window is acceptable.
•You may have heard of the 20/20/20/20 rule already. Regular pauses are critical — every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, look 20 feet away, and blink 20 times to relax the eye muscles. This is critical because when you gaze at a screen, your blink rate decreases considerably, affecting the delicate tear film that protects the surface of your eyes. Once the tear film’s chemistry is altered, a cascade of problems can ensue, ranging from dry and wet eyes to eyelid cysts. Keep a bottle of high-quality, preservative-free fake tears on your desk and add a drop every few hours to keep your eyes feeling fresh.