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Tips to Help your Patients Protect their Eyesight in an Office Environment

September 8, 2020

For most of history, work meant something very different to what it means today. In the past, it meant physical labor that was mainly done outdoors. But this has changed and today, most of our work has become sedentary, takes place indoors, and often involves sitting in front of a screen for hours at a time.

This transition can have a negative influence on our health and wellbeing – and impact our posture, diet, and vision. As an eye care professional, it is important to raise your patients’ awareness of how office work impacts their vision, and give them tips that can help them protect their eyes while in the office.

How does working in an office environment impact vision?

For many workers, a large portion of the day in the office is spent looking at tiny, illuminated letters and numbers on a screen. In fact, a recent Nielson study estimates that Americans spend an average of eleven hours a day staring at a screen, both in and outside of work. This prolonged screen usage can cause a number of conditions that include a form of eye strain called Computer Vision Syndrome, which is characterized by symptoms such as dryness, itchy eyes, and headaches. Screens, together with other artificial light sources in office environments, also give off blue light, which can also have a negative impact on the eyes.

How can you help your patients improve their eye health in the office?

The first thing that you can do to help your patients protect their eyes in an office environment is to make them aware of the problem. Ask them about their work environment and if they are having any symptoms related to eye strain. Work with them to identify problem areas and make suggestions about how they can improve their work environment to promote eye health, including the following tips.

Tip 1: Set up workstations for good posture and eye health

Adopting the correct sitting position is essential for maintaining good posture and eye health at work. The best sitting position for your patient depends on his or her height, the chair they are sitting on and the activity they are doing while sitting. However, they should follow the following recommendations to achieve a proper sitting position:

• Avoiding crossing their knees or ankles
• Keep their feet flat and rest them on the floor or a footrest
• Position their knees at the same height or slightly lower than the hips
• Relax their shoulders and hold their elbows at their sides to create an L-shape in the arms
• Sit up straight and look forward without straining their neck

In addition, working too close or too far from their screen can put unnecessary stress on your patients’ eyes. Suggest that they place their computer screen at arm’s length away and so that the top of the screen is at eye level. If possible, the screen should be lowered so that they are looking slightly downwards at it.

 

Tip 2: Avoid glare

The brightness of their screen should match the brightness of their surroundings. If the light in their office is too bright, suggest that they consider dimming the lights or changing the light bulbs to provide softer lighting. Also, they should make sure that light from the office light source, or even from the window, isn’t reflecting off their screen.

Tip 3: Use the 20-20-20 rule at work

Recommend that your patients use the 20-20-20 rule to mitigate eye strain. It’s easy—they should simply look 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes when working in front of a screen.

Tip 4: Eat right for eye health

While proper nutrition can’t prevent eye strain or vision problems, studies show that nutrition can help to enhance eye health. One of the most important nutrients is Omega-3 fatty acid, found in nuts, seeds, and oily fish like salmon and tuna. If your patients aren’t into fish and nuts, Omega-3 is also available as a supplement. It is also important for your patients to get enough carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial to retina health. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce are a good source of carotenoids. Vitamin C, which can be found in citrus fruits, strawberries and sweet peppers, is another important nutrient. And like your grandma always told you, carrots really are good for your eyes. They’re full of beta-carotene, which the body uses to make vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiencies impede the supply of a pigment called rhodopsin that’s critical for sight in low light and at night.

Tip 5: Choose the right optical solutions for their eyes

Shamir offers a variety of innovative solutions to help your patients tackle the challenges of the modern work environment:

Shamir Smart Office™lenses are designed specifically for office work and are perfect for progressive lens wearers. They provide excellent near, intermediate, and full distance vision and can be personalized to each patient’s occupational arc details. Their customized back surface optics boast optical accuracy of 0.01D.
Shamir Computer™ advanced freeform lenses are designed for patients who work primarily in front of a screen and provide excellent vision for close tasks with an optimal depth of field up to 1.5m.
Shamir Workspace™ lenses are ideal for patients whose work includes close tasks and mid-distance viewing, with an optimal depth of field up to 3m. Both have very low levels of distortion and can help alleviate the discomfort of Computer Vision Syndrome.
Shamir Relax™ advanced single lenses provide the extra bit of power that eyes need in the lower lens area to meet the accommodative challenges of exposure to digital screens.

We also recommend using Shamir Blue Zero™ or Shamir Glacier Blue Shield™, our innovative and proven solutions for protecting against blue light exposure in the office, without compromising on visual comfort.

Maintaining eye health in an office work environment can be challenging and we believe that ECPs play a critical role in raising patients’ awareness and guiding them towards the best practices and solutions to project their eyes.

If you also believe in the importance of helping to promote eye health, feel free to share this post with your patients and colleagues.

 

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