Preventing Eye Strain While Working

      Ryan Fogel    Filed under: Ergonomic Injury Prevention, Ergonomics Risk Management

Computer use among office workers has increased tremendously over the last 10 years. This has resulted in increased eye-related problems among employees. While this kind of eye strain caused by computer usage may not be permanent, it can be over a prolonged period of time. Here are some tips to prevent eye strain while viewing your computer monitor:

Use an Appropriate Computer Screen

Use a large, clean screen placed on a flat surface. Your screen should have adjustable contrast and brightness options, as well as sharp images that are in clear focus displayed on the screen.

Improve Workstation Ergonomics

One of the most vital ergonomic factors that cause eye strain is the distance between the eye and the computer screen. Your workstation should be arranged to ensure that the computer screen is 18-30 inches from the eyes.

Reduce Glare and Reflection

A computer screen can reflect glare which contributes to eye strain. In conditions where there is glare, the eyes constantly adapt to the contrast between dark and light areas, which result in eye fatigue, migraines and headaches. Some easy ways to reduce glare in the office environment include:

  • Use curtains and blinds or tint windows to control the natural light coming through the windows.
  • Use darker partitions behind computer screens to reduce the contrast between foreground and background.
  • Reposition workstation or light source so that the light falls directly on the work surface.
  • Adjust general light intensity to suit the task that is being performed.
  • Use anti-glare screen filters.

 

Regulate Intensity of Lighting

Poor office lighting or lighting that is too bright increases the risk of eye problems. The best kind of brightness to work in is between 200-500 lux (measures the intensity of light). In spaces that have no other bright light source, the most appropriate lighting is around 300 lux. In an already bright environment, or with large contrasts in lighting, use brighter lights around 400 and 500 lux. Flickering lights from malfunctioning fluorescent bulbs should be replaced or maintained frequently.

Take Regular Breaks from Computer Use

To allow the eyes recover from strain, take regular breaks from staring at the computer screen to focus on distant objects. The 20/20/20 rule is recommended by clinical optometrists. This rule states 20 minutes break from computer use, looking at things 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds at a time.

Avoid Contact Lenses and Wear Glasses

Contact lenses have been found to increase the severity of symptoms of dry-eye syndrome – an eye condition that is common among office workers, with research showing that more than 40% of office workers experiencing dry eyes. The symptoms are found more in office workers who use contact lenses as the contact lenses cause friction if the eye is not well lubricated.

Employee Training

Employee training is important to provide adequate knowledge concerning eye strain or other eye problems. Some of these include taking regular breaks and performing eye exercises, as well as being able to make small adjustments to the work environment like adjusting the computer screen within appropriate distances to view properly.

To achieve an optimal ergonomic workstation, it is important to hire a Specialist to examine your current workplace.  At Accredited Rehabilitation Consultants, we can evaluate your current workspace, find ways to make it more ergonomic, and then provide and install the necessary equipment to do so. To learn more, contact us today!