In an era of great advancements in technology, many of us are spending a significant amount of time in front of screens without acknowledging the effects on our body. It's important to be mindful of the effects of visual fatigue and strain, and to take the correct steps to protect yourself from injury and illness in the workplace.
What is Visual Strain?
Visual strain occurs after more than 2 hours of continuous exposure to computer screens, tablets and smart phones. It causes physical discomfort which includes dry, burning, itchy eyes. The strain on the eyes can cause blurred vision, headaches and fatigue.
5 Ways to Reduce Digital Eye Strain
The reality remains that we live in a virtual world where many of us are required to use screens a significant amount throughout our working day. While we may not be able to eliminate the use of screens, there are strategies we can put in place to reduce the impact of visual strain. Here are a few quick changes we can make to positively impact our overall eye health.
1. Complete your regular eye exams. It is always best to talk with your doctor and determine the current condition of your eye health. If you need a new prescription, make sure you update it in a timely manner. After all, if you had a sprained ankle, you wouldn’t go running on it would you? Treat your eyes with the same respect you treat the rest of your body.
2. Minimize glare by turning down your screen brightness. The brightness of your device should be equivalent to the light surrounding you. Furthermore, are you working with a source of natural light (e.g. window) directly in front of or behind you? Neither is good for your eyes! The window will produce extra glare. If you can’t move away entirely, position yourself so that you are seated parallel to the window, with the window on one side or the other.
3. Increase your text size. This is an easy and effective way to make an immediate difference. Increasing the text size on your device will relieve strain and reduce the stress level on your eyes.
4. Use the 20/20/20 rule. Since it may not be realistic to completely stay away from screens, implementing this rule can help to reduce the strain on your eyes. While in front of a screen, take a break every 20 minutes to look at something else 20 or more feet away for at least 20 seconds.
5. Be aware of your ergonomic seated position. Ensure that your arms, hands, back and head are not being strained or stressed. If you wear glasses, ensure they are properly positioned so you don't have to tilt your head to see properly.
Want to Learn More?
Join us on January 21, 2021 for our webinar Preventing Eye Strain in a Virtual Workplace as we discuss how to identify the early signs of visual strain and how this can impacts us in the workplace, along with practical strategies to address visual strain before it develops into a more significant injury. For more details, send us an email at OT@pshsa.ca.