Protecting Your Eyes While Working at Home | Clarity Laser Vision
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Protecting Your Eyes While Working at Home

August 8, 2020

Whether it’s due to the global COVID-19 pandemic or just part of a global trend, more and more Canadians are shifting from working in employer’s offices to working at home. It is not a trend that looks to be changing anytime soon. A Statistics Canada report released in July 2020 states that one-quarter of Canadian businesses anticipate that 10% or more of their employees will work remotely even after the pandemic comes to an end.

From time management to space sharing to child care, working from home invites an enormous range of challenges requiring creative solutions. Are you one of the people adjusting to or settling into a new working-from-home routine? If so, don’t neglect the health-related impacts of the changes — including the ways that working from home can affect your eyes.

Here are three common eye-related consequences of working from home, and how to protect your eye health.

Digital Eye Strain aka Computer Vision Syndrome

Staring at computer screens, tablets, cellphones, and televisions can exhaust your eyes. While this is true whether you work at home or away from home, a transition to working at home is an ideal opportunity to take some steps to protect yourself. The symptoms of Digital Eye Strain (DES) include: headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain. Here are five tips for avoiding DES, no matter where you work:

  • Coat your retinas with soothing and lubricating tears by blinking 10 to 15 times every minute
  • Don’t place your screen too close to your eyes. The ideal distance is at least 20 to 28” away
  • Follow the 20/20/20 rule. Look at an object 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes
  • Ensure your workspace has good lighting, especially if it’s an improvised workspace at home
  • Watch and adjust your seated posture.

Nearsightedness

Someone who is nearsighted sees objects clearly when they are nearby, but struggles to see objects clearly at any distance. It’s also referred to as myopia. While myopia is commonly associated with genetic factors, your work environment — and, again, the amount of time you work in front of a computer screen —can increase the likelihood of developing myopia and permanently reduce your distance vision.

Here are three suggestions for correcting myopia, any one or all of which should be accompanied with following the five above tips for reducing Digital Eye Strain, too:

  • Get prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses from an ophthalmologist in Calgary
  • Ask an eye doctor near you about corneal refractive therapy to reshape the curve of your cornea
  • Consider undergoing laser vision correction procedures to permanently improve your vision

Dry eyes

Dry eye is a common condition where your eyes simply don’t produce enough tears to adequately lubricate your eyes, or the tears you do produce tend to evaporate more quickly than they should. Dry eye is common in every workplace and living environment, but worsened by using a computer for long periods of time? What is the link with computer use? Apparently prolonged computer use causes us to blink less and even incompletely, meaning our eyes miss out on important moments of lubrication.

The symptoms of dry eyes include: tired eyes, blurry vision, a stinging sensation, light sensitivity, redness, and even mucus around your eyes. You can reduce or avoid dry eyes by: consciously blinking 10 to 15 times per minute, avoiding air blowing directly into your eyes, using a humidifier in your home work space, keeping your computer screen below eye level, and not (or quitting) smoking.

If your work environment — at home or elsewhere — may be contributing to eye-related symptoms, an eye doctor in Calgary can make recommendations to improve the eye-safety of your working space, and to treat any symptoms or underlying conditions.