March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, and, believe it or not, you are probably breaking a few rules simply sitting at your desk. While many think work-related eye injuries are isolated to jobs that require you to work outdoors, office life can be just as hazardous. We caught up with Dr. Jeffery Johnson from McFarland Eye Care to give us the inside look on what you can do to protect your vision at work.
Cut the Glare
If you suffer from headaches, fatigue, blurred vision or sore, tired, burning eyes, you may be suffering from computer vision syndrome (CVS). From anti-glare screen protectors to specialty computer eyewear, there are a number of quick fixes to protect your eyes from those glaring screens.
"There are tons of lens options to help combat CVS and general eye strain due to screen glare," Johnson says. "Talk to your eye care physician about specialty eyewear to help protect your vision, and try searching the web for screen protectors that limit light exposure."
Exercise Your Eyes
"At McFarland's, we recommend our patients abide by the 20-20- 20 rule. If you find yourself gazing at screens all day, every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away," Johnson says.
Think you'll have trouble remembering to do this every 20 minutes? Johnson advises setting a timer to remind yourself. "It's really amazing what a simple 20-second break can do for your eyes."
Humans normally blink around 15 times each minute. When staring at screens, this number decreases by half or one-third, which can lead to dry, irritated and tired eyes. If time allows, give your eyes a break away from your phone or computer screen.
"I recommend that all of my patients take multiple breaks from screens throughout the day," Johnson says. "Too much of anything can turn into something bad, and that includes staring at your computer screen for hours on end."
Drinking plenty of water is crucial to eye health. The eye is surrounded by fluid, which protects it by washing away debris and dust every time we blink. In order to maintain a healthy amount of fluid around your eye, it is important to stay hydrated. Johnson recommends keeping a bottle of water at your desk and drinking approximately three liters per day to help prevent dry eye symptoms.
Get Your Eyes Checked
Last, but definitely not least, be sure you're getting your eyes checked regularly. Many eye diseases come without much notice or warning, so it is especially important to get your eyes checked at least once a year.
"A yearly comprehensive eye exam is your best weapon against any eye disease," Johnson says. "So often I see patients who had no idea something was wrong until they came in for their eye exam. I can’t emphasize enough how critical it is to your eye health that you find a reliable eye care physician and schedule regular appointments."
Dr. Johnson sees patients at McFarland Eye Care centers in Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Bryant and Little Rock. He provides general eye care, refractions and complete eye exams, and also assists with pre- and postoperative care.