Many of us are experiencing changes to our working office environment and are working from home for an extended period of time. Whilst prioritising all aspects of our health and wellbeing, it’s also important to consider your vision and the overall health of your eyes, taking steps to set up a productive home office environment. Leading optometrist Nadeem Rob from the Eye Establishment in Kensington and Chelsea, outlines top tips for keeping eyes healthy in a home office environment.
Nadeem said “I’m seeing many patients who are busy young professionals and have never needed glasses, coming to me after working daily in front of screens from 9-5 pm for a few years. Suddenly they find they can’t focus properly, their vision is declining, or they are experiencing headaches and eyestrain at the end of a busy work day. And this is often due to changes in their prescription, shape of eye (astigmastism) or an eye muscle imbalance. These are all manageable with a simple eye exam and helped with either correct prescription glasses or eye muscle exercises.”
Here are seven simple tips to keep your eyes healthy whilst working:
Screen positioning – The optimum position for your computer screen is four or five inches below your eye level. Adjust your screen so it is well positioned and you are comfortable. Too far away and you may squint to focus and cause eye strain which can lead to headaches and tiredness.
Lighting – Try and get as much natural light in your workspace as possible. This has the added benefit of improving your mood too. Straining your eyes to see your screen in a dimly lit room is going to increase fatigue.
Set your desk close to a window – This means you will be able to glance out the window at objects in the distance. Nadeem recommends the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes look into the distance as far as 20 feet for up to 20 seconds. This avoids eye strain throughout the day.
Take regular breaks from your screen or phone – Giving your eyes regular breaks is very important to allow you to re-focus, look away into the distance and give the muscles in your eyes a break from staring at one point. Ideally getting outdoors is preferable as this will allow your eyes to consume more Vitamin D – essential for overall eye health.
Remember to blink! This may sound strange but when staring at a screen or phone the number of times we blink in a minute can drop and put eyes at risk of drying out. Dry eyes can be very uncomfortable and cause difficulty concentrating and even sleeping.
Ensure you’re up to date with your eye tests. As well as detecting short and long sightedness, eye tests can also detect health issues such as astigmatism, lazy eye (amblyopia), colour blindness, cataracts, even general health problems like diabetes. Opticians can recommend the latest technology such as blue filter lenses, a coating that can be placed on non prescription lenses that blocks out certain blue wavelengths from screens – ideal for those that are required to work with computers for more than 3-4 hours a day.
Dark Mode – if you’re working late in the evening, bright light is known to disrupt circadian rhythms. In response tech giants like Apple, have released Dark Mode to make screens ‘easier on your eyes’. Not everyone likes to activate this, but less blue light makes it easier to get off to sleep.
Nadeem said ‘implementing these easy measures are quick ways to ensure optimum eye health, reduce tiredness and increase productivity, allowing you to work better for longer.’
The Eye Establishment provides a range of eye health care for adults and children, providing a personal service tailored to each customer to ensure outstanding levels of clinical care in the local community of Kensington and Chelsea and beyond.