Depending on your workplace, different types of strain can be placed on the eyes, and in some scenarios, there can be a risk of eye injury. It is important to consider proper workplace eye wellness to keep you functioning at your best and preserve your vision over the long run.
The most important things to consider are correct eyeglasses (if needed), screen health, and eye safety.
We all have differing needs for glasses that change over time. Some people are nearsighted (can see up close without glasses), some people are farsighted (can see far away without glasses), and some people have astigmatism (need regular use of glasses). In addition, we all develop some trouble with reading vision over time (presbyopia). Because the workplace is changing, and we place more demands on our eyes (small parts in machinery, small font on the computer), it is important to have the proper eye wear for YOUR eyes. For some lucky individuals, they need nothing, for others over the counter readers will suffice, and others need a prescription set of eyeglasses or contacts. In many cases, as we get into our late forties to sixties a pair of progressive lenses (no-line bifocals) or multifocal/monovision contacts are helpful to provide range of vision for all the different tasks we do at work.
In addition, many of us are on the computer for hours a day. While there are no toxic effects to the eyes, when we are at the computer we tend to stare, and not blink as much, so the eyes dry out. This is especially pronounced during the winter months when the air is dry. This can lead to a sensation of eye strain, dryness, burning, or sometimes even tearing. It is important to remember the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes look 20 feet away from the computer for 20 seconds. This helps to reset your blink and focusing reflexes. Remember that proper eye wear is essential, and sometimes a blue light filter is useful for some people. In cases of significant dryness, artificial tears or medications may be helpful.
The most important thing to remember is to keep the eyes safe! If you work in an environment where you could sustain injury to the eyes, then it is important to wear shatterproof eyewear that has side shields. Our surgeons work regularly in affiliation with Wills Eye, where we see blinding eye injuries. Some we can fix in surgery, some we can't. But many times patients with an eye injury note, "I took my safety glasses off for just a second, and then it happened..." While we can't prevent every injury, we can prevent a lot. If you require safety glasses at your workplace, PLEASE wear them at all times.
As always if you have any concerns there is no substitute for a visit with your eye doctor and a thorough eye exam! Schedule your eye appointment here.