Top 10 Tips to Protect Your Eyes at the Workplace
In the hustle and bustle of today’s modern workplace, maintaining our eyesight might not always be at the forefront of our minds. However, with increased digitalization and potential hazards in various industries, it’s more important than ever to prioritize eye care. Here are ten essential tips to safeguard your eyes at work.
1. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
Long hours in front of a screen can strain your eyes. Every 20 minutes, make it a habit to look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds like a tree outside the window or a picture on the far wall, for 20 seconds. This simple break can alleviate eye tension, reduce eye fatigue, and prevent digital eye strain.
2. Adjust Screen Settings
Ensure that your screen brightness corresponds to the light in your surroundings. Too bright or too dark screens can cause eye discomfort. For instance, if you’re using a Windows PC, navigate to the display settings to adjust the text size. On smartphones, most have a ‘Blue Light Filter’ or ‘Night Mode’ which can be less taxing on the eyes enhancing text size and contrast can further ensure that you’re not straining your eyes to read.
3. Invest in Anti-glare Solutions
Glare from walls, windows, or lighting can cause unnecessary strain on your eyes. An anti-glare screen for your monitor or anti-glare lenses for your glasses can help combat this issue, making screen time more comfortable. Computer users might consider a matte screen protector, which reduces reflections.
4. Optimize Workspace Lighting
Avoid working under direct overhead fluorescent lights if possible. Use floor lamps or desk lamps with soft light bulbs. For instance, lamps with warm-colored LED bulbs tend to be gentler on the eyes than stark white fluorescents. The goal is to ensure even, ambient lighting without any harsh contrasts or glares.
5. Blink More Often
Blinking is a mini workout for your eyes. It helps to reduce dryness and itchiness by moistening the eyes. Make a conscious effort to blink more, especially when engrossed in work. Place sticky notes with the word “Blink” on your monitor’s edges. It acts as a gentle reminder to keep your eyes moist and refreshed.
6. Prioritize Ergonomic Workspace Design
Position your computer screen about an arm’s length away and ensure it’s at eye level or slightly below. This way, you can type comfortably while having the screen at eye level. External monitors can be adjusted on their stands or with the use of monitor risers. This arrangement encourages comfortable viewing, reducing the strain on your eyes and neck.
7. Use Protective Eyewear
If your work involves potential eye hazards like chemicals, flying debris, or harmful radiation, always wear protective eyewear. Ensure they fit properly, are comfortable, and are suitable for the specific hazard you’re guarding against. In settings with bright lights or lasers, use eyewear with the appropriate protective tint.
8. Regular Eye Check-ups
Even if you feel your vision is perfect, regular eye check-ups are a must. A yearly check can detect latent issues like the onset of computer vision syndrome or the need to update prescription glasses. This helps to allow for timely intervention and care.
9. Mind Air Quality
Air conditioning, fans, or heaters can dry out your eyes. Ensure good air circulation in your workspace, and if needed, use a humidifier or artificial tears to keep your eyes moistened.
10. Stay Hydrated
Your body’s hydration affects your eyes. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent your eyes from getting dry and irritated.
3 types of eye protection
- Safety Glasses: These are protective eyeglasses with safety frames constructed of metal or plastic and impact-resistant lenses. Some models have side shields for added protection.
- Goggles: Goggles provide a secure fit around a person’s eyes, offering protection from all sides. They can be ventilated to prevent fogging or non-ventilated for better protection against splashes and dust.
- Face Shields and Helmets: Face shields and helmets protect the entire face, not just the eyes. Helmets often come with a visor that can be flipped down, while face shields can cover from the top of the head to below the chin.
What Safety Measures Should You Take To Protect Your Eyes
- Wear Proper Eye Protection: Depending on the task or environment, select the appropriate protective eyewear. This could be safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or welding helmets. Ensure they fit well and are free from damage.
- Know the Risks: Familiarize yourself with the potential eye hazards in your workplace or home. By understanding the risks, you can take appropriate preventative measures.
- Avoid Direct Sun Exposure: Extended exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause cataracts and other eye issues. When outdoors, especially during peak sun hours, wear sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
- Adjust Computer Settings: If working on a computer for extended periods, use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and font size to be comfortable for your eyes. Position the screen so it’s just below eye level and about 20-26 inches away from your eyes.
- Maintain Proper Lighting: Ensure that your workspace is well-lit without causing glare on screens or reflective surfaces. Using task lighting and reducing overhead lights can reduce screen glare and strain.
- Practice Good Hygiene: Always wash your hands before touching your eyes or handling contact lenses. Keep contact lenses clean and adhere to the guidelines for wear.
- Limit Screen Time: Taking regular breaks can reduce eye strain from prolonged screen usage. If possible, avoid using digital devices before bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep.
- Stay Updated on Eye Exams: Regular comprehensive eye check-ups can detect vision problems, eye diseases, and general health problems before they become severe. Early detection can lead to more effective and less invasive treatment.
- Use Anti-reflective Lenses: If you wear glasses, get lenses with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare from screens and light sources.
- Stay Aware of Surroundings: If you’re involved in sports or certain physical activities, always be aware of your surroundings to prevent potential eye injuries. For example, be cautious of stray balls, flying debris, or errant swings.
- Store Chemicals Safely: Ensure household or workplace chemicals are securely stored. When using them, read labels, ensure proper ventilation, and always use them in a way that prevents splashing or vapor exposure to the eyes.
Protecting your eyes is vital for maintaining your vision and overall eye health throughout your life. By adopting these practices, you can help ensure your eyes stay healthy and functional for years to come.