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Eye Safety: Tips for Protecting Vision in the Workplace

March 20, 2014
Prevent Blindness has declared that March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. The organization offers a number of tips for preventing workplace eyestrain and fatigue in office environments.

In light of a new study revealing that 70 percent of U.S. adults suffer from digital eyestrain due to prolonged use of electronic devices, Prevent Blindness is focusing its efforts on promoting eye health in the workplace.

The organization, which has declared that March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, offers these tips for preventing workplace eyestrain and fatigue in office environments:

  • Visit an eye doctor for a dilated-eye exam to make sure you’re seeing clearly and to detect any potential vision issues.
  • Place your screen 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and slightly below eye level.
  • Use a document holder placed next to your computer screen. It should be close enough so you don’t have to swing your head back and forth or constantly change your eye focus.
  • Adjust the text size on the screen to a comfortable level.
  • Change your lighting to lower glare and reduce harsh reflections. Glare filters over your computer screen also can help.
  • Use an adjustable chair.
  • Choose screens that can tilt and swivel. An adjustable keyboard also is helpful.

The Vision Council recommends the 20-20-20 break: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.

Symptoms of digital eyestrain can include dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches. With more and more people regularly using laptops, tablets, smartphones and other digital devices as part of their jobs, workers need to be vigilant in their efforts to protect their vision.

“Taking care of our eyes should be a job we perform around the clock,” said Hugh Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. 

Prevent Blindness “strongly recommends” the use of eye protection in the workplace, especially in construction, manufacturing and other settings where eye accidents and injuries can occur. In 2012, employers reported 20,300 occupational eye injuries that resulted in days away from work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

Prevent Blindness offers two workplace programs: The “Healthy Eyes” educational series, a free program that provides downloadable modules to conduct formal presentations or informal one-on-one sessions; and “Eye2Eye,” a Web-based educational resource designed to train employees to communicate the importance of eye health and safety to each other, increase eye-safety compliance and build a stronger culture of safety in the workplace. 

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