March is Worker Eye Wellness Month and, at Health Net, we’d like to remind you to keep an eye out for any eye changes you might notice. The many hours most of us spend in front of our electronic devices — computers at work and mobile phones, tablets and gaming systems at home — no doubt put us at risk for eye strain.
The technical terms are computer vision syndrome and digital eye strain, and neither is hard to get with all of the screens we view multiple hours a day.
It’s a pretty safe bet that you’re straining your eyes if suddenly you notice things like eye twitches, physical fatigue, and watery eyes and itching. Listen to this whisper and immediately increase your point size or adjust your computer screen to eliminate glare, for example. However, if you’re experiencing blurred vision, headaches or difficulty concentrating, think of your symptoms not as a whisper, but rather a warning, and pay a visit your optometrist.
There is a bright side to all this: by simply making one — or a few — necessary adjustments, you can diminish eye fatigue and strain. In fact, you can see a complete return to good eye health within weeks of making a few adjustments.
Buy into breaks
Few of us remember to take eye breaks. According to The American Optometric Association, everyone should take note of the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes take a break to view something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
Pick up your posture
Check yourself often to make sure you’re seated in the proper position: feet resting flat on the floor; arms resting on chair arms and not on your keyboard; and your body sitting in a conforming chair. Also, make sure your reference materials are at a comfortable distance from your eyes. This way, you don’t have to lean over to see the words or move your head too much while reading and typing.
Control the lighting
If there’s a glare on your computer screen from the fluorescent lights above your workstation or too much natural light from a nearby window, make a phone call to your facilities department to see if you can have a bulb removed or better shades installed. You also can try a screen glare filter if fixing your light sources doesn’t do the trick.
Opt in to optometry
You should continue to see your optometrist annually even if you don’t feel the need to. Prescriptions change and you might have one stronger eye that begins to overcompensate for the weaker one. In addition, you may have a family history of eye disease that progresses slowly without you even noticing.
The eyes might be a window into your soul but, quite literally, they’re a window into your overall health. An optometrist can let you know if he or she discovers other health-related issues, such as diabetes, by doing an annual eye exam. Being proactive can save you much frustration and pain, so take care of your eyes the best ways you can. In doing so, you’ll hopefully see a lifetime of good eye health.