At the turn of a new decade and the rise of smart devices ever increasing amongst businesses, how can companies ensure they have the correct provisions in place to maximise eye health amongst staff?
It’s no secret that the physical demands we put on our eyes is only increasing over time – we are spending more and more time in front of screens in work than ever before and it’s crucial that employers recognise this and put provisions in place to account for this added strain.
While businesses already have a responsibility to provide reasonable care to those workers that spend significant times in front of screens there is still a long way to go to putting eye health at the top of the employee well-being offering.
Optometrists are still witnessing an increasing number of tech-related eye strains in patients, demonstrating the threat devices pose to our long term eye.
Companies should encourage staff to put their eye health first in 2020 and here are five ways to do this:
Make sure their ‘breaks’ are away from their desk.
Ensure your team is getting away from their desk at lunch time and ideally for short periods throughout the working day. Going outside and getting some fresh air would be ideal.
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is caused by extended periods of time in front of a screen without a break. Screen glare can cause eye dryness, strain and tiredness which is not something you want when it comes to productivity.
While it’s obvious, encouraging your team to take a break throughout the day is key and this should be reflected from the management team upwards – staff may feel reluctant to take a break if they don’t see their boss doing the same.
A quick way to do this is the 20-20-20 technique. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from your screen to look at something 20 feet away. This vital break will give your eyes a chance to rest and is an effective way to reduce eye strain.
Keep tabs on your office space and equipment
A quality computer monitor is crucial and will be the best investment for any new or existing members of staff.
Employees that are spending 7-8 hours a day in front of it deserve a screen that is bright and high quality so ensure you do regular checks and testing to make sure they are up to scratch. Working with a dull screen or glare forces eyes to strain more, which in the long run could severely affect vision.
Anti-glare screens are an easy and cost-effective way to support staff with this, reducing the everyday strain on their eyes.
However it is important to ensure that sufficient lighting is present around desks for equal brightness since shadows and light glare can cause eye fatigue. Furthermore, ensure computer screens are positioned at least 25 inches from the user.
A tidy office is a healthy office
It may sound trivial but companies must do the basics well. As well as creating a more pleasant place to work, a clean environment with minimal dust is important and will cause less eye irritation to staff. This is particularly crucial to any workers that might have seasonal allergies.
Support those that want to quit smoking
Putting provisions in place to support those wanting to quit smoking can be one of the most effective ways to get staff to give up for good. It doesn’t need to be as extreme as the recent business offering additional holiday as a potential perk but any actions to show you care about their lifestyles can do a world of good.
It could be organising a charity fundraiser or other group initiative to let employees know they are not alone when it comes to quitting and can be an easy way to get people to commit to the idea knowing that others are ‘in the same boat’.
Smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress and has been linked to the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes and dry eye syndrome. Quitting smoking at any stage of life can be beneficial, reducing the risk of developing eye threatening conditions.
Regular eye checks are a must for those in front of screens
Regular eye examinations are crucial to spotting sight loss or damage before it worsens. Optometrists can help detect conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration which can lead to sight loss, so encouraging your staff to visit an optician every two years is an important step in maintaining good eye health.