The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an abrupt shift to the online work setting. In less than a year, nearly all industries switched to remote work. Brick-and-mortar retailers found their way into online shopping sites. Real estate companies launched virtual home tours and inspections. Even healthcare services switched to online consultations and therapies.
As the global workforce migrates into the virtual world, employees are expected to spend more screen time than before. Consequently, this poses many eye health concerns among remote workers.
Ever spent a whole day binge-watching a series? How about a whole night typing a school paper due the next day? From itchy eyes to headaches, there’s a lengthy list of problems that come after long exposures to computer screens and other electronic devices. It’s important to review how our eyes react to blue light to understand why these problems occur. Specifically, the electromagnetic spectrum, which refers to the entire range of light that exists.
The human eye can see not all light. Your eyes can only perceive a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, called the “visible light.” Blue light is part of the visible light. It is one of the shortest and the highest of all energy wavelengths. As a result, blue light can penetrate the cornea and lens and reach the retina, creating possible retinal damage or even age-related macular degeneration.
Electronic devices, such as computers and laptops, emit blue light. Of course, the amount they produce is significantly smaller than the amount of blue light produced by the sun. Thus, blue light coming from electronic devices does not result in eye damage.
However, this doesn’t mean that frequent use of digital devices doesn’t pose a concern. While blue light emitted from electronic devices doesn’t cause serious long-term damage to your eyes, it does create a glaring effect. Thus, consistent and excessive screen time may still contribute to common eye problems, such as eye fatigue, blurred vision, and nearsightedness.
Moreover, various studies have shown that people tend to blink less when reading or watching something on a screen. Since blinking helps keep the eye moist, not blinking for a prolonged time can cause dry eyes, often accompanied by pain and blurry vision.
How Can Remote Employees Care for Their Eyes?
There are different ways to reduce the risk of eye problems linked to electronic devices. If you’re a stay-at-home employee, you can ditch the hassles associated with digital eye strain by doing the following tricks:
- Keep your distance
The distance between you and your device’s screen contributes to your eye health. The further the screen is, the more difficult it will be to read what’s on the screen. Likewise, the closer it is, the more likely you are to experience eye strain. The trick is to maintain a gap that is not too far and not too close at the same time.
Ideally, there should be a 20-24 inches gap between you and your electric devices, such as computers or laptops. At the same time, it should be about 4-5 inches below eye level. Such a position promises comfortable reading with lesser risks of eye strain.
To ensure that your laptop is positioned at the right distance, keep a good posture and stretch out your arms. Your screen should touch the tip of your fingers. Meanwhile, you can see if the screen is positioned at the right angle by good posture and looking straight ahead. You should be able to see your browser’s address bar at that position.
- Blink often
As mentioned earlier, people who watch or read something on the screen tend to blink less. Normally, a person blinks about 15 to 20 times within a minute. Research shows that such figures dramatically slide when one is working on a computer. Specifically, a person is likely to blink 66% less while using electric devices.
Since blinking works to lubricate the eyeballs, this helps keep the eyes moist and free from debris. When a person blinks less, he is likely to suffer from eye fatigue and even infection.
It’s best to blink as often as you can when working on a laptop or computer to prevent such problems from happening. You can also follow the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from your computer screen every after 20 minutes. Focus your vision on an object that is about 20 feet away. Keep looking at that object for 20 seconds. Once done, you can get back to your screen. Repeat the process until you’re done with your online work. You can set up a timer to follow the pattern. You can also use eye drops to help keep your eyes from drying.
- Use computer glasses
Of course, you can consult a vision specialist and ask for prescription lenses. People that tend to work regularly in front of computers are vulnerable to eye strains. Doctors can provide computer glasses that help reduce the risks of eye problems associated with prolonged exposure to digital screens.
Specifically, these glasses come with an anti-reflective coating. This feature helps reflect blue light away and reduce screen glare when one is using digital devices. To date, there are three types of lenses available for computer glasses. These are:
- Single-vision lenses
- Bifocal lenses
- Progressive lenses
Visit Us Today!
From itchy eyes, blurry vision to headaches, there comes a lengthy list of problems with long hours of computer use. If you’re a work-from-home employee, you’re likely to encounter these common eye problems as you go on with your daily online tasks.
Feel free to visit us here at Arizona Retinal Specialists. We are a team of doctors that provide expert advice, diagnosis, and medical treatment relating to vision. You can check out our site here.