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3 simple tips to look after your eyes at the office

Research shows that the average person spends up to 12 hours a day in front of a mobile, television or computer screen. Although working shifts account for the majority of those hours, we are just as likely to spend chunks of our spare time glued to our monitor: according to another study, an astonishing 47% of people have worked during a holiday; 27% have worked while dining with friends, and, rather depressingly, 20% admitted to working while spending time with their children.

Technology is encroaching on all aspects of our lives, and with an unavoidable 8 hours per day spent working with computers at the office, our eyes are bearing the brunt of our routine. If you ever suffered from eye strain, or experienced any of its symptoms, here are three simple but effective tips to help you defeat it.

1. Dim your lighting

As the working day draws to a close, and you tally up the hours spent staring at a bright screen, you may notice that your eyes feel more and more tired. This happens for a very simple reason: if there’s not enough contrast between black and white, your eyes will struggle to distinguish between the different items on your screen, leading to eye strain and eye fatigue.

The solution is straightforward: turn down your screen’s brightness, and increase the contrast. You will immediately feel more comfortable, as the dimmer lighting will help your eyes relax.

2. Adjust the height of your monitor

Human eyes are naturally positioned to hold a specific line of gaze. If your computer screen is not in your “normal” eye path, your eyes will need to constantly work to stare in an unnatural direction.

Optical experts suggest a simple solution: adjusting the height of your monitor. Position your computer screen no higher than eye level; specifically, an inch or two below the level of your eyes when you’re sitting up straight. This will successfully reduce eye stress, and limit exposure to the screen to a small surface area of the cornea.

3. Give your eyes a break

If you’re suffering from dry eyes and strain because of your incessant use of display devices, there are a few simple remedies you can try. According to the Health and Safety Executive, it’s good practice to take short breaks from your computer screen (for example, a 5 or 10-minute break every 50 – 60 minutes of screen work), to allow your eyes to rest. 

Frequent short breaks are better than fewer long ones; if you don’t feel like going for a coffee break every hour, you can perform a very easy eye exercise while sitting at your desk. Just turn your gaze away and focus on a distant object, to relax the focus muscles in your eyes.

Lubricating your eyes with preservative-free eye drops can also help you prevent the feelings of discomfort associated with dry eyes. One of the reasons why you may suffer from dry eyes at work is your reduced blinking rate: while the average person blinks around 20 times a minute, you only blink around 7 times a minute when you spend long periods of time in front of a screen. 

Blinking helps the eye clear away dust particles, and spreads lubricating oils and fluids across the eye ball, to keep your eyes hydrated and healthy; eye drops will serve the same purpose, keeping your eyes moist when your blinking rate is at its lowest.