Millions of Brits are at risk of doing long-term damage to their eyesight – as the effects of working from home through the winter are felt.
Eyecare experts have warned that as natural light dwindles in the daytime, adults will be putting excess strain on their eyes. And research of 2,000 adults who are working from home found one in three have eye strain complaints by the end of each day, despite a tenth having three or more lights blazing in their home office
One issue causing excess eye strain is the need to feel constantly connected at work, as seven in 10 adults believe they always need to be available in case colleagues feel they are slacking. As a result, 15 per cent never take a screen break and spend nearly eight hours a day directly gazing at either a computer monitor or their phone.
More than three in 10 respondents would go as far as to say their eyesight has noticeably worsened as a result of working from home.
In a bid to keep eyes healthy in dimly-lit rooms, 34 per cent have actively tried to drink more water, 12 per cent have set an evening curfew to stop looking at screens and the same amount use eye drops to keep moisture levels up.
A further 41 per cent report that the coronavirus pandemic has stopped them visiting the optician for a check-up in the last 12 months.
Take regular screen breaks
Says Yannick Roth, optician and business developer for Europe at VisionDirect.co.uk, which commissioned the survey: “Poor lighting may do more than just harm your eye health, it can also result in headaches, lethargy, irritability, and in turn, impact your productivity and lower your morale.
“Various lighting effects given off by inadequate light sources like ‘glare’, which occurs when one part of the visual field is much brighter than the average brightness field, do not impair your sight but can lead to physical discomfort and tiredness.
“Veiling reflections’, another lighting effect and common problem, especially in home offices, can be described as when a window reflects light onto your computer screen, masking the information and similarly, causing visual fatigue.”
“Fortunately, simple changes to your daily habits like planning regular screen breaks, adjusting your desk and computer setup, and investing in good-quality, layered light sources can make all the difference.
“A productive and healthy working environment should include ‘ambient lighting’, usually indirect and coming from a ceiling light, ‘task lighting’, a focused light in the form of an adjustable lamp, and ‘accent lighting’, used to complement other light sources like wall lights.
“Plus, following the 20-20-20 rule is one of the best ways to protect your eyes from digital eye strain, and involves looking away from your screen at something that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.”
Yannick Roth has compiled an online guide of twenty ways British workers can look after their eye health while working from home https://www.visiondirect.co.
FIVE WAYS TO KEEP YOUR EYES HEALTHY WHILE WORKING FROM HOME
1. Move the desk to be near a window
2. Set alarms to take regular screen breaks like the 20-20-20 rule (looking away from your screen at something that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes)
3. Use artificial eye drops
4. Have a good desk lamp for when it’s dark or light is not good
5. Maintain a distance of approximately 65-70cm between laptop / PC screen and eyes