Australian office workers face a high risk of complex vision and eye problems from prolonged computer use, according to Optometrists Association of Australia (OAA), the peak body for optometrists in Australia.
Optometrists Association Australia’s Professional Services Manager, Shirley Loh, said computer eye fatigue – vision problems and deterioration of eye health from computer use – is becoming more common as we continue to work longer hours and rely on computers in the office.
“While computers increase efficiency in our jobs, our productivity can actually be reduced if we don’t take care of our eyes,” she said.
“Having a simple eye examination every two years is essential to help maintain good eye health. But we must also practice good eye care habits on a day-to-day basis, particularly when using computers and reading for long periods of time,” said Ms Loh.
“Ideally we should be taking a break every hour; get up from your desk, have a quick stretch and a give your eyes a chance to rest. Not only will this benefit your vision, it will also assist the general health of your body, posture and mind.”
Office workers comprise one of the highest risk categories of computer eye fatigue with some studies indicating that 35-48 per cent of these workers suffer from the problem. Shirley Loh recommends seeing your local optometrist for advice on keeping your eyes healthy while using the computer – a referral from a doctor is not needed to see an optometrist.
The OAA recommends that everyone should have an eye examination every two years, or as advised by your eye care professional.
Common symptoms of computer eye fatigue:
- Sore, red eyes associated with computer use
- Excessively tired eyes, not in keeping with the rest of your body
- Headaches that become more severe while focusing at a computer screen
- Dry, irritated eyes or reliance on eye drops
- Blurred distance vision after work
- Tendency to squint or lean towards the computer screen
- Difficulty changing focus between your computer, paperwork, and looking up and talking to colleagues or clients
Top Tips for optimum eye health in the office:
- Take regular two minute breaks from close computer work throughout the day
- Ensure the lighting in your office is even and without glare
- Align your reading material correctly so you don’t have to strain your eyes as you work
- Adjust your computer monitor so the top is level with your eyes
- Ensure your glasses/lens prescription is appropriate for close computer work
- Be aware of symptoms you tend to experience during or after computer work