WITH research suggesting that some UK office and home workers are spending up to 14 hours a day looking at a screen – eye health should remain a focus of employee wellbeing.
The call comes from Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment in the run up to National Eye Health Care Week (September 19-25) and in the wake of reports suggesting a huge rise in screen use since the pandemic.
A change in working conditions and spending more time at home over the past two and half years has seen an increase in hours spent in front of a laptop or computer, browsing the Internet and watching television.
ACR managing director Nel Woolcott said: “For millions of office workers, staring at a screen all day is the norm – especially with more people working remotely as a consequence of the pandemic, and perhaps not taking the breaks they should.
“Add mobile phones into the mix; with social media, news feeds and Internet searches, it is little wonder that we are putting our eyes through a lot every day.”
A collaborative study* by Leeds University / Leeds Trinity University into the use of screen technologies by British adults, and how they have changed as a result of the pandemic,
revealed that half of respondents now look at screens for 11 hours or more a day, and more than a quarter look at screens for 14 hours or more a day.
More than half of the participants said they used screens more often than they did pre-pandemic.
One in four people said their screen time had increased at work, and one in two were using screens for leisure activities more than they did before Covid.
National Eye Health Care Week aims to encourage the public to be ‘eye aware’ – promoting the importance of routine sight tests and highlighting the role healthy lifestyles play in preventing avoidable sight loss.
Nel added: “Events like National Eye Health Week do really remind us just how precious our sight is, and how daily strains can take their toll.
“However, there are a number of easy checks and tips for staff when taking care of their eyes and ensuring their well-being while working from home, on the move or in the office.”
If you spend much of your working day at a computer screen:
- Check the screen is well positioned and properly adjusted – it is estimated that one in four users move the screen closer to focus on their work. The height of the screen should be roughly at eye level, the computer monitor should be at or slightly below your eye level.
- Make sure lighting conditions are suitable and try and get as much natural light into your work area as possible. Adjust your screen lighting/brightness if possible.
- Take regular breaks from screen work.
- Blink! We naturally blink about 20 times every minute, but when focusing on a screen this can drop by as much as half. This means your eyes are at much greater risk of drying out when working on the computer.
- Make sure your screen is clean to help reduce glare.
- Book an eye test and consider wearing anti-glare glasses. These have a coating that reduce glare and reflections to protect the eyes – ideal when using laptops and mobile phones.
Did you know?
- Two million people in the UK are living with sight loss, that is severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives.
- A sight test can detect early signs of conditions like glaucoma, which can be treated if found soon enough.
- During a sight test, other health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure may be detected.
- Regular exercise can reduce your risk of degenerative eye conditions; as can adopting a healthy diet/lifestyle and protecting the eyes in bright sunlight.