Ergonomics Office hazards Office safety

Academy shares tips on eyestrain

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office worker

Photo: Yuri_Arcurs/iStockphoto

San Francisco – In recognition of Workplace Eye Wellness Month in March, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is sharing ergonomic tips to help workers deal with dry and strained eyes.

Looking at small print for hours can result in eye strain, fatigue and headaches, according to a press release from the academy. Eyes can become dry while looking at computer screens and other digital displays, as a person’s blink rate decreases by one-third to half of its normal rate.

The academy offers the following guidance for preventing eye strain and dry eyes:

  • Keep your computer monitor 25 inches – or an arm’s length – away from your face. Consider increasing the size of type.
  • Try a matte filter for screens to reduce glare. Newer phones and laptops can produce a strong glare than may irritate eyes.
  • Abide by the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps relax the eyes.
  • Use a desktop humidifier or artificial tears to keep eyes moist. Humidity-controlled offices and heaters in winter can dry out eyes.
  • Modify lighting to lower eye strain. Eyes can strain when looking at a computer screen that is brighter than its surroundings. Try increasing the contrast on your computer monitor.

If you consistently have dry, red eyes or eye pain, see an ophthalmologist, the academy advises.

“I have many patients who work long hours in an office setting, and it can be irritating to the eyes, causing dryness, strain, even blurriness,” Natasha Herz, clinical spokesperson for AAO, said in the release. “Luckily, changing a few simple things in your environment and on your desk can help solve some of these problems.”

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