In the modern era, smartphones and computers are essential gadgets. We use them to message family and friends, scroll through social media, read news articles on unfolding global events, and watch entertaining videos to relax and unwind. So, all things considered, it’s no surprise that – in the UK alone – people spend an average of 411 minutes (e.g. just under seven hours) per day glancing at screens.
There is also no hiding that, especially in the case of office jobs, work can contribute significantly to this impressive figure. From sending multiple emails to using digital software, we rely on digital devices more than ever in our professional lives too. However, in the long run, prolonged exposure to screens can have a detrimental effect on our eyes and vision.
As a business owner or manager, one of your main responsibilities is to promote workplace wellbeing and ensure your team is as healthy as can be at all times – both mentally and physically.
With some insights from Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, in this article we explore the ins and outs of digital eye strain (DES), explaining how it can impact one’s health and how you can help your employees avoid its unpleasant consequences.
In a nutshell, digital eye strain is a type of eye fatigue that occurs if you look at a screen (i.e. computer, tablet, phone, etc.) for very long hours. Given that this is a common practice in many people’s routines, it is thought that one in two computer users (if not more) experiences DES on a regular basis.
But why does it happen? Firstly, because glancing at a screen all day tires your eye muscles. In fact, to focus the eye and allow you to see your device properly, eye muscles have to act directly on your lens. After a while, this will take a toll on your muscles, and eventually lead to eye fatigue. What’s more, looking at a digital screen can reduce your blink rate by up to 50%. Considering that blinking helps your eyes stay hydrated, any drop in its usual activity can cause a gritty, dry feeling that may, in turn, influence your vision and affect your wellbeing.
Employees are the pulsing heart of every company, so preserving your workers’ health is always of paramount importance. As mentioned, spending long hours in front of a digital screen, whether it’s a laptop or a business phone, can have an array of unwanted consequences on your staff’s wellbeing.
So, to figure out whether digital eye strain is wearing your people, here are a few signs and symptoms you may want to look out for:
As well as hindering their mental and physical condition, digital eye strain can also have a negative impact on your people’s efficiency and productivity levels.
In some professions, you cannot escape using tablets, phones, and computers for prolonged hours. But as a business owner or manager, you can take several simple steps to tackle the risks of digital eye strain in your employees and nip the problem in the bud.
This said, let’s have a look at a few tips you may want to take into consideration:
Digital eye strain is a common side effect of spending long hours in front of a screen, and it tends to affect a large number of employees who use computers on a daily basis. From migraines to disrupted sleep cycles, DES can have a detrimental impact on people’s lives – both personal and professional.
As an employer, it’s important to take care of your people and preserve all aspects of their wellbeing. Luckily, there are several tricks you can embrace to limit the perils of digital eye strain, including promoting eye exercises, encouraging regular breaks, and setting up appropriate workstations. Ultimately, these are all handy steps that can help spare your staff from an avoidable, unpleasant issue.