The wrong kind of lighting can really do a number on your productivity in the office, as well as your health. If you work indoors in an office setting, chances are you’re subjected to the glare of harsh fluorescent lighting every workday. This type of lighting is admittedly one of the most inexpensive lighting options but, over time, it has the unfortunate side-effect of causing headaches and fatigue in employees who are exposed to it regularly. This type of environment can even serve as a stimulus to bring on headache and migraine symptoms for chronic sufferers of these conditions.
Another downside of having a desk job is the strain it puts on your eyes. The average American office worker spends around seven hours a day in front of computers or other digital devices (smartphones, e-readers, tablets, etc.). As a result, many people experience digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome. This term is used to describe a variety of visual health problems that can arise from prolonged computer use, including eye strain and dizziness, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, blurred vision and dry eyes.
How to Protect Your Eyes at the Office
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to protect your eyes and limit the effects of bad lighting and too much time spent staring at screens at the office.
- Ditch fluorescent lighting. Check to see if it’s possible to get rid of the overhead fluorescent lighting in your office. A good lighting alternative is floor lamps, in which halogen or incandescent bulbs can be used to give off indirect light.
- Don’t skip your yearly eye exam. For most people, a yearly eye exam is a necessity. A regular eye exam will allow your eye doctor to detect changes in your vision and spot any visual problems early on. Make sure your optometrist knows how much time you generally spend on the computer, both at home and at work.
- Adjust your computer display settings. To avoid straining your eyes, make sure that your computer screen is bright with good contrast, in a font size and style that can be read easily without squinting.
- Blink often and use eye drops as needed. Blinking frequently may seem like a no-brainer, but you may be surprised to learn that people tend to blink less than half as often as they should when using the computer. To keep your eyes properly lubricated and prevent irritation, make a conscious effort to blink at least 10-15 times per minute – roughly every five seconds. If you still notice that your eyes are dry or irritated, eye drops can provide relief.
- Give yourself a break. Don’t forget to take periodic breaks away from your desk throughout the day. The doctors at Vision Specialists of Michigan recommend using the 20-20-20 approach when your eyes need a break from digital screens: after 20 minutes of screen time, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Get Help From Professionals
Healthy eyes are an essential part of your overall health. If you have been suffering from headaches or blurred vision due to harsh fluorescent lights or prolonged computer use at work, Vision Specialists of Michigan can help. To find out how we treat vision disorders such as computer vision syndrome, give us a call at (248) 258-9000.