World Day for Safety and Health at Work is on this Tuesday 28th April and the effective management of eye health is an important contribution to a healthy, safe and productive workplace. Up to 50,000 eye injuries occur per year – that’s approximately seven in 1,000! Visual impairment or injury reduces a person’s independence and can contribute to isolation, depression and have adverse effects on work and social relationships.
Many roles in the workplace now involve visually demanding tasks like working with computers for several hours with few breaks, or dealing with crowded and complex visual material. Workers undertaking visually demanding work may become aware of an eyesight problem they had not noticed before undertaking such tasks, such as dry eyes and blurred vision.
Users of screen technology cannot be expected to stop using computers or PDAs, but should be encouraged to follow simple steps such as those listed below. These small measures can make big differences to the risk of vision strain.
1. Give It A Rest – Remember the 20-20-20 rule. At least every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet (6 metres) away.
2. Size Up – Smaller screens on handheld devices and laptops usually favour small fonts that challenge our vision. Instead of bringing the screen closer to the eyes, increase the font size so the device can be used at a distance that is more comfortable for the eyes.
3. Sharpen Up – Better resolution offers greater clarity and usually more comfort. Adjust the brightness of the screen to a comfortable intensity, neither too bright nor too dim.
4. Reduce Glare – Handheld devices present challenges in various lighting conditions. Users should try to reduce glare where possible and try to make sure lighting is not directly behind or in front of their heads.
5. Look Down – It’s easier on the eyes to focus on reading material that is below eye level, therefore, a computer monitor or handheld device can be positioned slightly below eye level.