22 Feb Keeping Your Eyes Healthy While Working From Home
As the popularity of work from home continues, many of us have not fully considered the toll it has taken on our eyesight as we spend more time than ever using screens and devices. The eye is a delicate organ that often gets left behind in health discussions, despite its importance. If not properly cared for, your eyes can become weaker over time, increasing your risk for eye issues. While we appear to be reaching the end of the pandemic, the work-from-home trend appears to be sticking around; it is important to know how to identify and treat eye issues that may arise when working from home. Continue reading for 5 tips for keeping your eyes healthy when you work from home.
1. Preventing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
The first solution to a healthier eye at home is cutting down screen time. CVS is a condition where the eye becomes weaker over time due to prolonged screen usage. Whether you are on your phone or your desktop, CVS can affect your eye negatively with symptoms such as blurry vision, trouble focusing, dizziness, and irritation. However, if you work from home spending time on your devices is often unavoidable. If you must spend excessive time on your devices, it is best to maintain a distance of at least 20-28 inches and take consistent breaks to avoid damaged eyesight.
2. Reduce Light Exposure… Especially Before Bed
Sitting at your screen all day can mean you have high exposure to blue light… and if you have to work in the evening, you may find your exposure continues well past working hours. Research suggests that blue light, bright lights, glares and flashing lights contribute to the disruption of the body’s natural sleep cycle. With improper sleep, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, restlessness and poor coordination. These symptoms not only affect your eyes but your overall well being. Using proper lighting conditions before bed will help combat these issues and relax the tension of your eye muscles.
3. Regular Exercise
Believe it or not, exercise has significant health benefits… even for your eyes! When we work from home, it can be difficult to stay active in the same way we might be able to at the office. Even what may seem like insignificant exercise—walking to your transit stop, visiting a coworker’s desk, or heading to an off-site lunch or meeting—still keeps you moving throughout the day. This type of movement is less common when you work from home.
Sitting in the same posture for a long length time without movement puts you at risk of muscle stiffness, neck pain and headaches. These symptoms can limit the blood flow to your retina and optic nerves, contributing to blurry or tunnel vision. If you find yourself stiff, take a break to walk around your home or neighbourhood. Want to be even more active? Cardio exercises such as jumping jacks, running and yoga will keep your body healthy and ensure there’s proper blood flow to the eyes.
4. Follow The 20-20-20 Rule
Prolonged focus of the eye on an object—be it a computer screen, book, or television—can cause eye strain and irritation. The simple 20-20-20 rule allows you to take short breaks that help you reset your focus. Once every 20 minutes, look away in a different direction at an object 20 or more feet away from you. Stare softly at the object for 20 seconds and continue your work when completed. If you’ve got a nice view from your window, admiring the natural beauty of the outdoors is a great place to practice this rule!
Finally, the air quality in your home can also negatively affect your eyes. Dry or stale air in your home can cause dry eyes, irritation and itchiness, and could also expose your eyes to dust and allergens. When working from home, it is important to not only keep your environment clean, but to constantly ensure you have proper airflow through your space. In the warmer months, open a window; in the colder months, ensure your heating system is working properly, and use a portable air purifier if possible to keep air fresh.
While these tips can help protect your eyesight as you work from home, regular eye examinations are the best way to ensure your eyes are staying healthy. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above for a prolonged period of time, please seek professional eyecare advice to prevent further damage. For more information on getting an eye checkup, please visit https://drdorioeyecare.com/book-appoinment or call us at (416) 656-2020 (Toronto), (416) 661-5555 (North York).