Long hours of work in the office staring at a computer screen, or any other digital device can cause a serious problem, commonly referred to as eye strain. Decreased blinking rate is one of the common causes of eye strain. On average, a person blinks 12 times a minute. However, when staring at a computer screen, this rate goes low up to 5 times a minute. This results in dry eyes and eye discomfort.
Devices with an awkward viewing angle, poorly adjusted contrast settings, or harsh glare also cause eye strain. Symptoms of digital strain include dry eyes, headache, blurred vision, and neck or shoulder pain. You might have difficulty focusing and experience increased sensitivity to light.
Research by the Vision Council has shown that 59% of people who often use digital screens have experienced symptoms of digital eye strain. If your nature of work requires you to work long hours staring at your computer screen, you may be experiencing computer vision syndrome.
Eye strain can significantly affect employee productivity. Employees with eye strain lack quality sleep and therefore feel fatigued. Most employees take breaks during working hours to rest their eyes as a result of visual disturbance.
A study reports that eye-focusing problems may cause employees to lose up to 15 minutes a day. This translates into a loss of more than $2,000 per year per affected employee. Here are 5 essential smart tools in your office to help prevent eye strain.
1. Flat-panel LCD monitor screen
The old-fashioned CRT screens have a low refresh rate and therefore cause a flicker of images. When this happens, your eyes feel “tired” when working on a computer screen. Invest in a modern liquid crystal display (LCD) flat panel display. It does not emit light directly thanks to its light modulating properties of liquid crystals. This, therefore, minimizes the glare commonly experienced when using traditional monitor screens.
The flat-panel LCD monitor screens are designed with an anti-glare technology which ensures less eye strain even when working at night.
2. Blue-light blocking computer glasses
As we stare at digital screens for lengthy periods, we are exposed to blue light waves which are part of the entire spectrum of the rainbow that humans can see. Blue light exposure can affect your eyes and also affect your cardiac rhythm.
Blue light waves are much available in natural sources of light such as the sun, but we also get artificial exposure such as the light from Smartphones and computers. Exposure to blue light is harmful to your health as it has been linked to significant eye strain that contributes to speeding up blindness.
Blue light blocking computer glasses are designed with filters in their lenses to block blue light from damaging your retina. Therefore, you can look at a computer for long hours, even in the dark, without having to worry about staying awake because of exposure to blue light.
These computer glasses can be worn during the day as you work, and also at night to prevent blue light emitted from digital screens from keeping you awake.
For best results, choose computer glasses that are light in weight for a comfortable fit, and have plastic frames as these are durable and flexible.
3. Adjustable monitor mounts
The position of your monitor can either make or ruin your day. If it is placed in an uncomfortable position, you will have to crane your neck while working, which results in poor posture and consequently neck and shoulder pain.
An adjustable monitor mount comes with detachable brackets to allow you to attach a monitor on a desk. You can then adjust it to the height and distance that is comfortable for you. The right monitor stand will improve your experience at the workplace and help you avoid poor posture.
4. Anti-glare filters
Windows provide natural light to your workspace. However, poor positioning of the windows; behind your desk, or in front of your monitor can be an eye killer. The sunlight from the window creates a glare on your digital device thus making it hard to view the screen.
Anti-glare filters are clear removable panels that are fitted over your computer screens to diffuse light and help to reduce glare. Anti-glare filters are ideal if your workspace is subject to changing lighting conditions.
Another advantage of an anti-glare screen is that it has a matte finishing and thus reduces fingerprints, or accumulation of dust that can irritate the eyes. There is no need to constantly clean your screen.
Anti-glare filter protection on your computer screen allows you to easily operate your device without having to squint your eyes or tilt it in an attempt to find the right position that offers clarity.
5. Document holder
Working from documents on a flat surface is another cause of eyestrain since the text appears too far from the eyes. This results in bent postures when viewing documents that often create neck pain, fatigue, and discomfort. A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology reported that individuals who sat in a poor posture (slouched or slumped), experienced low self-esteem, negative moods, and increased stress.
Almost everyone using a computer in their office have a task where they are required to refer to a hard copy document for data entry purposes. It can be tiring to keep looking for information on flat surfaces, where the text is not on the eye level, and input the information on a computer. In such cases, a well-structured document holder can truly have a positive ergonomic impact.
A document holder enables you to position your documents at the same level as your screen.
Sometimes there is little we can do to control the amount of time we spend in front of our computer due to the nature of our work. But you can take measures to prevent eye strain in the process. The above mentioned smart tools will give your eyes a measure of relief. In addition to these smart gadgets, it is also important to receive comprehensive annual exams just to rule out any visual disorders.
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