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The office can seem like a neutral environment when it comes to eye health, but just one bout of eyestrain, eye soreness or fuzziness at the workplace is enough to tell you that office environments can carry a number of threats to your health. The good news is that a few precautions and observations can keep your eyes sharp and clear.
Air conditioning is notorious for provoking dry eyes, which make reading and focusing strained. Sometimes nearby vents or your seating position can be adjusted so you don’t get direct airflow toward your eyes, or if officemates can agree, the air conditioning can be turned down. But always keep good eye drops at the office to moisten and soothe your eyes, and drink lots of water—your eyes take a drink with you.
Your computer’s monitor can be your eye’s enemy: – improper screen brightness, faulty electronics, misadjusted screen resolution, and bad monitor positioning can all impinge on optimal eye ease. Make sure your monitor is positioned away from window glare (or adjust the blinds or the angle of your desk), ergonomically situated, working in peak condition and adjusted for crisp, clear performance.
Don’t forget the 20-20-20 rule! Simply looking away from the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds, focusing on objects 20 feet away will renew your eyes.
Don’t Look Up
Fluorescent lighting, particularly older bulbs, can be trouble for the eyes. The fast, irregular flickering of fluorescents strains and fatigues the eyes. Sometimes the removal of a single bulb in a bank of bulbs can help, or use floor or desk lamps in place of the ceiling lighting. Replacing old bulbs with modern full-spectrum lighting can make a big difference.
Office Renovation and Cleaning
Office construction and cleaning can wreak havoc on the eyes: new carpets often release volatile, eye-irritating chemicals, clouds of dust from construction work can provoke irritation, and airborne particles from cleaning products can cause painful eye reactions. Request that office refurbishment be conducted during off-hours, but if that’s not possible, use fans to circulate fouled air away from your eyes. Suggest alternative cleaning products that are eye-safe.
Take quick breaks and, if possible, eat your lunch hour outside of the office environment. Take a walk, breathe fresh air, get your circulation up and come back refreshed. What’s good for your body is good for your eyes. And if someone is microwaving some eye-watering hot-chili pepper dish in the break room, head the other direction.
Don’t think of your desk job as an occupational hazard. Instead, look for the opportunity to protect your vision, and know that basic awareness of potential hazards is a strong step to eye health, in the office and everywhere.