17 Tips to Avoid Eye Problems While Working from Home

Did you know that you can suffer from eye problems working from home too much? Read on to learn about the most common conditions and how to take care of your eyes.
17 Tips to Avoid Eye Problems While Working from Home

Last update: 24 October, 2021

Spending long hours in front of a screen can have a variety of consequences, from distancing yourself from the people around you, to eye problems while working from home. Discomfort such as irritation, red eyes, blurred vision, and even headaches are some of the symptoms caused by the abusive use of electronic devices.

Fortunately, with good hygiene habits, you can avoid, prevent or reduce eye problems while working from home, to ensure your eyes don’t suffer more than they should. Taking care of your eyesight should be a priority for those who do virtual work.

Working from home and the use of screens

Working from home involves many hours in front of the screen of a digital device. Almost all the tasks that a person must carry out in this type of work require an electronic device.

The problems can be further exacerbated if you consider the fact that, according to estimates, people who work from home spend at least 4 additional hours in front of their screens compared to those who carry out their work in person.

After carrying out their work, the same people also use electronic devices as a means of entertainment. Whether these are televisions, tablets, computers, or phones. This means that they can end up spending more than 12 and up to 16 hours a day in front of a screen.

Nowadays, virtual education modalities, added to all the leisure options on offer, are making people of all age groups spend a lot of time with such devices.

Take a look at this article: 3 Ways to Work Productively from Home

Eye problems while working from home

All of the situations described above can have consequences, and negatively impact your eye health. Most of the symptoms and eye problems related to working from home fall under what is known as computer vision syndrome:

  • Fatigue: Digital eye strain is caused by the effort that the eye muscles must make to accommodate your vision, keeping it focused on a close object continuously.
  • Dry eyes: Dry eye symptoms can be due to both incomplete blinking and the combined effect of blinking and other factors.
  • Watery eyes: In addition to diseases such as conjunctivitis, respiratory tract infections or allergies, constantly looking at a screen can be another cause of watery eyes.
  • Blurred vision: After working from home for too long, you may notice a diffuse cloudiness, and blurring in your vision. This is usually temporary.
  • Red eyes: If the eye isn’t properly lubricated, there may be dilation of the blood vessels, which is evident in a reddening of the sclera.

Other symptoms

Due to the effort your eyes have to make for long periods, a situation of visual stress can arise. Apart from those already mentioned, other conditions resulting from prolonged use of video screens are as follows:

  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Photophobia
  • Headaches

Studies have found no major relationship between screen use and increased myopia. However, a visit to the ophthalmologist shouldn’t be ruled out, whether you wear glasses or not.

A tired woman.
Headaches and vision problems are among the most common problems associated with excessive use of screens.

Causes

It’s important to clarify that vision problems while working from home aren’t directly due to screens. Experts consider that the radiation they emit doesn’t affect the eye in any way.

However, what can be harmful is the time you spend near them on a daily basis, as well as the lack of precautions to avoid eyestrain. There are a number of factors that can contribute to, or aggravate, eye problems while working from home, including the following:

  • A too brightly lit environment
  • Poor lighting
  • An incorrect posture or angle when looking at the screen
  • Being too near the screen
  • Too little brightness, contrast, and font size on the screen.
  • Not wearing corrective lenses.

Research on the subject has found no evidence that people blink less at the screen. But it is claimed that the quality is affected, increasing the number of incomplete blinks.

Check out this article: Keys to Limit Your Use of Screens

How to avoid or reduce eye problems while teleworking

The solution to eye problems while working from home isn’t to stop using your computer, let alone stop working. But there are other things you can do to prevent or reduce the consequences of screen misuse and abuse.

1. Lighting

One of the primary causes of visual problems is inadequate lighting. Here there are three factors to take into account: type of light, intensity and position.

Your lighting should preferably be natural and abundant, without being excessive. If necessary, you should use curtains or blinds to regulate the amount that enters the workplace.

If the location of your workplace isn’t a place with plenty of natural light, you need to rely on artificial light. This should also be moderate.

2. Screen brightness

You can adjust both the brightness and the color temperature of the screen. You can even adjust it according to the time of day and the ambient light, whether natural or artificial.

To find out if the brightness is too high or not, do the following test. Stand behind the monitor and put your hand in front of it; see if the light reflecting off your skin looks like a movie projector. If so, it’s too high.

3. Screen protectors

There’s still debate as to whether the blue light emitted by device screens can be harmful to eyesight and whether filters are beneficial. A 2017 review suggests that there isn’t enough evidence to say for sure.

And while many monitors today already have glare-reducing screen protectors, you can install an additional anti-glare or blue light reduction filter.

4. Make the text bigger

If the font size of the text you see on the screen is too small, it will cause eye problems when teleworking for long periods, as you will have to put more effort into focusing. Adjust it to make it more legible.

5. Keep the distance

You should sit between 50 and 60 centimeters (12 to 15 inches) from the screen. People who work with desktop computers keep this distance better, because of the design of office furniture. But those who use tablets or phones tend to bring their face closer to the screen.

6. Keep the height

The center of the monitor should be a few inches below your eye line. The height of the chair and the location of the screen should allow for this.

Even if we’re very focused on the task, we mustn’t forget to blink frequently, even if we have to do it intentionally.

8. Take a break

Every so often, take your eyes off the screen and focus elsewhere for 15-20 seconds. It’s recommended that you focus on an object more than 6 meters away (20 feet). You should repeat this every 20 minutes. And you should take at least a 15-minute break after 2 hours of work.

9. Clean the screen

Clean the screen and glasses. This applies to the screen as well as to conventional frame glasses if you wear them. Take a cloth and dust the monitor. Wipe the glasses with a soft tissue.

10. Hydration and ventilation

Avoid air conditioning, heating, or fans directly on your face. If you have to work in conditions where your eyes tend to dry out, use artificial tears sparingly.

11. Good rest

You should give your eyes a rest while you work and after you work. During sleeping hours is when your eyes are closed the most, protecting and lubricating the ocular surface. Therefore, sleeping between 7 and 8 hours at night will help your eyesight to be in better condition.

12. Food for the view

If you must spend long hours in front of the screen, but don’t want to have eye problems when working from home, in addition to these preventive measures you should include in your foods rich in omega 3 in your diet.

13. Adjust your glasses

If you wear glasses, make sure you use them when you’re at work. It’s no use leaving them on the table. Have regular eye tests.

14. Reduce the use of contact lenses

If you prefer contact lenses, it’s better to use them at other times: when going out, at a social gathering, when doing sports. For teleworking, conventional glasses are better, as they protect your eyes and are less tiring.

A man with eye problems.
For working from home, conventional lenses are preferable to contact lenses, as they tend to dry out the eye less.

15. Don’t rub

When your eyes feel tired, dry, or irritated from long periods of work, don’t rub them. And certainly not without having washed your hands. In addition to the fact that rubbing makes them more irritated, you can expose yourself to infections.

16. Eye tests

If you wear glasses, go for regular eye tests. If you don’t wear glasses, but you spend a lot of time in front of a computer, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist to diagnose or rule out a vision problem. The ophthalmologist will be able to advise you and give you preventive measures to avoid eye problems while working from home.

17. Get away from screens for a while

This is the hardest tip of all. If you spend all day looking at a computer monitor, and then at night you’re always checking your social networks or watching a movie, your eyes will say enough is enough.

From time to time you need to change activities. Two good options are books in printed format and board games. The latter will help the family get together and your children will also take a break from the screen for a while and develop other skills.

Get used to good visual habits

Working from home continues to increase worldwide. More and more people do their work while connected to a device.

Eyes are sensitive and delicate. They can be affected by a variety of factors. We don’t know how sustainable this usage can be for our eyesight.

Now, if you have become accustomed to a new way of living and working from home, you can also get used to maintaining good habits and proper eye hygiene on a daily basis.

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