The Way We See It
Fall 2016 > Blue Light in the Office: Reducing the Hazardous Effects of Daily Digital Exposure
Blue Light in the Office: Reducing the Hazardous Effects of Daily Digital Exposure
Most people who work in an office environment enjoy the perks it has to offer. This type of setting places very little physical strain on a person’s body. A normal work agenda gives employees an opportunity to program their bodies to follow a consistent sleep schedule and enjoy regular days off. When mixed with a comfortable temperature setting all year and little to no back breaking work involved, this type of environment can be praised for the advantages it can offer a person. Some offices even extend memberships to a gym, nutritional counseling and personal training for their employees to maintain their physical well-being. So with all these benefits, what could be so bad about working in an office setting?
Working in an office setting likely means that employees use digital devices and are being exposed to blue light for an extended period of time on a daily basis. Blue Light is a hot topic right now because of the highly damaging effects it can have on someone’s vision such as digital eye strain, retina damage, and the development of age-related macular degeneration. According to The Vision Council, 8 out of 10 Americans who suffer from digital eye strain admit to using two or more devices at the same time. It is important as an eye care practitioner to stress to patients the damage that blue light can do to their eyes, and what they can do to prevent it.
The 20-20-20 rule is a simple and easy habit that should be established and maintained. This rule suggests taking a 20 second break from the screen every 20 minutes, and focus on something that is 20 feet away. In addition to that, be sure to blink! Giving the eyes a chance to refocus and moisturize themselves is a key factor in preventing digital eye strain.
Most places allow employees to take two 15 minute breaks throughout the work day. However, research is showing that additional “mini-breaks” should be utilized as well to ease digital eye strain. By taking four extra breaks a day of just five minutes each, workers can help reduce their symptoms and increase their productivity. Adding four extra short breaks into the day is as simple as taking a quick stroll in the hallway or making a cup of coffee.
If avoiding electronic devices is not an option, suggest to patients the benefit of computer glasses which block the harmful blue light, and emphasize the importance of getting a pair. Available in both prescription and non-prescription lenses, stress the notion that these lenses should be used by anybody who spends the majority of their day looking at a digital screen. It could save their vision.