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  • Dr. Sandra Chiu

Eyes at Work: Protecting Your Vision in the Office

We all know that it is important to protect our eyes from common hazards, bright sunlight, and flying debris - but spending time in an office setting, with bright computer screens, can be rough on the eyes, too.

Fortunately, you can maintain the health of your eyes with a few easy, common-sense steps.

Take this list to work tomorrow - your eyes will thank you.

1. Reconfigure your space

Many people like to get up close and personal with their laptops, but the ideal distance between your eyes and a computer screen is anywhere from 20 to 24 inches. If you’re too close to your screen, you can overwork the ciliary muscles in your eyes, often resulting in tired, strained eyes or an achy feeling between your brows.

Positioning is important, too - arrange your workstation so the screen is about 10 to 15 degrees below your eye level. You’ll be looking slightly downward at your screen. Bonus: This setup may also reduce strain on your neck and back!

2. Play with screen settings

You can keep shining like a star at work - just make sure your monitor doesn’t! Many offices have their computer screens set to maximum brightness by default. Turn it down to roughly match the brightness of your office space, and you’ll probably find that your eyes are less taxed.

Making an adjustment to the monitor’s colours can help, too. You can change the settings to incorporate warmer hues, like orange and red, which are easier on the eyes. Finally, if your screen contains small text, zoom in so you’re working with larger letters. This will give your eye muscles a much-deserved rest.

3. Glare’s gotta go

Glare occurs when too much light goes into your eye, making it difficult to see. In offices, this often happens when overhead or outdoor light reflects off of computer screens. And glare doesn’t only affect the eyes. When there’s glare in your vision, you’ll naturally hold your body in an uncomfortable position to minimize it, resulting in tight muscles and bad posture.

To minimize glare, place your screen in a spot where it’s less likely to reflect other light sources, or reduce those sources by closing blinds and dimming lights as necessary. You might even turn off the overhead light completely and replace it with a desk lamp. The result: relaxed eyes - and maybe a better mood.

4. Take breaks

If your workday involves logging many hours at a computer, you can reduce eye strain by stepping away from the screen. Taking about 5-10 minutes every hour to walk around, get some water, or even go outside is optimal.

On days when this isn’t possible, you can give your eyes a break by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer at something that’s at least 20 feet away, and focus on it for 20 seconds. Allowing your eyes to “stretch” this way will help them feel less fatigued.

5. Get regular eye check-ups

While it’s important to take responsibility for your own eye health, annual check-ins with a professional will keep your eyes working at their best.

Dr. Sandra Chiu at Carey Optical provides comprehensive eye exams in the Saugeen Shores area. Carey Optical’s extensive eyewear offerings include blue-light-blocking lenses to protect your eyes in your workplace.

To book an appointment, visit or call (519) 832-5000.

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