Many years ago, it was the use of fluorescent lighting that was often the culprit causing headaches and eyestrain in the the workplace. Today, it’s the use of our omnipresent technological devices, everything from sitting behind a computer to the use of tablets on the road and smartphones out in the field. You don’t have to be sitting behind a desk all day to be chained to a screen for the better part of your work week to experience eye-related difficulties.
While the seemingly constant use of modern technology doesn’t seem to cause any permanent damage to our eyes or vision, there are still some conditions that many of us suffer from like dry eyes from a lack of blinking, simple eyestrain and more complex headaches that can occur from excessive screen time.
Use The 20-20-20 Rule
If you’re going to spend more than an hour in front of a screen, remember the 20-20-20 rule when using these devices. Every twenty minutes, look at something at least twenty feet in the distance for at least twenty seconds. This allows our eyes a quick break from the bright, electronic screen and lets them refocus at a distant image that will help to reduce eyestrain.
Forgetting To Blink
Another practice that contributes to eyestrain and dry eyes is the fact that sometimes we forget to blink, or more accurately, we often tend to blink less often when using these electronic devices. Perhaps the simplest way to relieve dry eyes and help with eyestrain related to not shutting our lids enough, is to use eye drops or artificial tears. If you’re using the 20-20-20 rule, add blinking and a gentle massage to this routine.
As any eyecare professional will tell you, you shouldn’t rub your eyes directly, especially when they’re already irritated since this practice can cause more harm than good and possibly damage or injure them. Instead, try some simple massage techniques around your temples, underneath, above and around your eyes. Watch this short video by Dr. Brandon Gilbert on how to perform these short massage moves yourself.
Exercise & Activity
For those who are desk bound, it’s always a good idea to get up and move around periodically throughout the day to get your blood circulation going, which is also good for your eyes. There are also some simple exercises you can perform with your eyes themselves that not only help to relieve strain, they’re also said to assist with the onset of conditions like near and far-sightedness.
Exercises4eyes.com gives weary screen users a step-by-step slideshow that shows people a handful of simple eye exercises that will aid with tired vision. They also offer a couple of quick squints and rubs to help with aching eyes at the end of the show.
Depending upon where you work and the profession you’re involved in, we all know to wear protective eyewear whenever and wherever appropriate. For those working primarily outdoors, it’s very important to wear sunglasses during the day regardless of the season. Along with ensuring these glasses block out up to 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, for some people, the choice of these types of lenses can be especially helpful.
There is a very specific and unique difference between regular tinted shades and polarized lenses. For those who work around water, snow, metal or glass, the glare reflecting off these surfaces can cause additional eye strain and possible damage. Polarized lenses are specifically designed to reduce this type of reflective glare and can better protect your eyes.
To further protect your valuable and priceless vision, do the best to relieve the daily wear-and-tear we can often put on our eyes. Make decisions wisely and keep your peepers at their very best of health to ensure they’ll last a lifetime.January is Glaucoma Awareness Month: Protect Your Eyes At Work! by Megan Ritter