Vision Issues During Remote Work? Here’s What to Do
Remote work has become a popular option in today’s professional landscape. Since its widespread adoption in 2020, many organizations have made it a permanent setup, with data from the Pew Research Center estimating that over 22 million Americans were still working fully remotely as of 2023. Even freelance workers are happy to work remotely, given that this work setup offers benefits like a better work-life balance.
However, remote work also comes with its own share of challenges, particularly regarding eye health. Prolonged screen time, often characteristic of remote work, can result in vision issues. After all, surveys reveal that the average remote worker logs in around 13 hours of screen use daily. In this article, we will explore the vision problems faced by remote workers and provide practical tips on how to tackle these challenges effectively.
Vision issues and remote work
In a Fortune article, optometrist and vision rehabilitation specialist Dr. Tanya Polec stated that with more time spent in front of screens, more stress is put on our visual systems. This can lead to an increased likelihood of causing permanent damage.
Additionally, findings from one study revealed that unregulated amounts of screen time may lead to adverse effects on health. More specifically, it has been associated with collateral damage to optical health, eating habits, and sleep routines. The World Health Organization (WHO) also highlights that when screen time replaces healthy habits such as physical activity and sleep, headaches, neck pain, myopia (nearsightedness), and digital eye syndrome can become more common among adults.
Strategies for remote workers
Adjust workspace ergonomics
Proper ergonomics play a significant role in eye health for remote workers. As such, it pays to invest in the right ergonomic equipment. Ensure that your monitor is at eye level, reducing the need to strain your neck and eyes. Moreover, optimize lighting to minimize glare and reflections on the screen for a comfortable and vision-friendly workspace. If you are able to, set up your workspace so that it’s in a room that gets lots of natural light. But if this isn’t doable, invest in ambient lighting like the highly-rated TW Lighting Ivy LED Desk Lamp.
Wear blue light glasses
Research suggests that blue light, which is emitted by monitors, can cause a myriad of issues ranging from dry eyes to retinal damage. In terms of work, these conditions have been connected with a dip in focus and productivity. Available with or without prescriptions, blue light glasses can filter out potentially harmful blue-violet light from various sources like the sun and LED screens. As such, these glasses can help the eyes stay healthy and comfortable even through long workdays. Additionally, since overexposure to blue light can adversely affect the circadian rhythm, wearing these glasses ensures you’re well-rested and ready for your busy days.
Take ample screen breaks
Although it can be tricky for remote workers to peel themselves away from screens, it’s important for you to make the effort to do so. According to experts, including those from the Association of Optometrists, taking screen breaks is crucial in the prevention of digital eye strain. One habit to incorporate into your routine is the 20-20-20 rule, where you look away from your screen every 20 minutes to focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple eye exercise, coupled with frequent blinking and periodically moving around, reduces discomfort and enhances focus.
Protect Your Eye Health!
As remote work continues to shape the professional landscape, addressing vision issues becomes paramount for ensuring long-term eye health and overall well-being. Implementing these strategies and engaging with employers for support can help remote workers navigate the digital era with clear sight and sustained visual comfort.
This post was authored by Lorelei Jimenez
Lorelei Jimenez is a freelance writer with a background in women’s studies and psychology. Over the past twenty years, she has contributed to a number of online and print publications, where she writes about equality, business, and wellness.