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You may be wondering why an accounting blog is suddenly dipping their toes into the field of optometry.

No, we aren’t changing our focus (pun not intended) completely.

A Quick Guide to Protecting our Eyes from Screens and Work

But, whether you own a small business or work for a large one, whether you work from your basement or from a high rise office, whether you are just starting a career or are planning your retirement party–a lot of us are spending A LOT of time in front of a screen. So, it makes sense for us to delve into just how they are affecting us.

Computer screens, tablet screens, and smart phone screens completely surround us. Though plenty of good has come out of these new advances in technology, we have to be aware of the impacts that they are having on our health.

Is it really that big of a deal?

In short, yes. Computer Vision Syndrome is a real thing. Defined by the American Association of Optometrists, “Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain,¬†describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use.”

Protecting your eyes from screens at work

Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include: [Source: American Association of Optometrists]

  • eyestrain
  • blurred vision
  • headaches
  • dry eyes
  • neck and shoulder pain

As you can see, spending our time in front of a screen has ill effects not only on our eyes, but other aspects of our health as well.

Screens Impact your Sleep Too

More than just affecting your eye sight, head and neck, the blue light from computer, tablet, and phone screens can have some serious impacts on your sleep. According to Harvard Medical School, While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin [a hormone that influences sleep], blue light at night does so more powerfully.”

With many employees working on flex schedules or telecommuting, we find ourselves in front of screens during the evening hours quite often.

It’s a Real Problem, but What Can I Do About It?

You could always quit your job and find one that doesn’t involve some type of digital screen, but that isn’t always practical or feasible (or desired!). So, we’ve rounded up some ways to help you.

Remember to blink

It might not seem crazy, but you would be surprised by how easy it is to forget to blink while staring a screen. Continue to blink frequently so your eyes stay moist.

Follow the 20/20/20 Rule

Take a screen break every 20 minutes, by allowing your eyes to rest on something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Bring a Book to Work

Do you find that during your lunch break you are still staring at the computer screen or scrolling through your phone? Give your eyes a break from screen work by reading a book or flipping through a magazine instead.

Be aware of the glare

Reducing the glare on your screen by positioning surrounding lights or installing a screen glare filter can go a long way when it comes to protecting your eyes.

Adjust the surrounding lighting

Optometrists, Gary Heiting and Larry K. Wan point out that the fluorescent lighting found in most offices is way too bright for computer work. They suggest, “Eliminate exterior light by closing drapes, shades or blinds. Reduce interior lighting by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or use lower intensity bulbs and tubes.”¬†

Purchase some blue light filtering glasses

We are long past the days where you will get made fun of and called “four eyes” for wearing glasses. Blue light glasses, which come in both prescription and non-prescription forms, help block harmful blue light from reaching your eyes.

Download an app to reduce blue light

Apps such as f.lux work to have the light from you computer, phone, or tablet reflect the surrounding light. For example, according to f.lux, during the day the computer’s bright blue light is meant to be like the bright sunlight. However, during the nighttime, that bright blue light from the computer seriously disrupts your sleep. Apps such as f.lux warm the light on the screen so it is not so bright and blue at night.

Make sure to have your eyes examined annually

An annual eye exam is recommended by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety for those who work in front of computers.

Encourage employees to take care of their health

If you are in the position of managing employees, you can contribute to their health and well-being by encouraging these practices. Employees should feel like they can prioritize their eye and sleep health without any ramifications.

If possible, try offering a variety of office lighting options, encourage screen breaks, and even consider providing employees with blue light filtering glasses.

Are you looking for more ways to help your business grow and thrive? Contact us at Lumen Advisory and Finance!