Computer Vision Syndrome: managing screen time in a digital world
Eyes on the prize
Workplace wellbeing is an increasingly broad and deep area of discussion in HR. From the impact of stress on mental health, all the way through to the gradually warping posture of the desk-bound, there’s plenty for you to be preventing.
One area deserving more attention, though, is eye health. Many of us now get through more than seven hours (!) of unbroken daily screen time, and the unnatural blue light that screens emit can lead to headaches, blurred vision, and the imaginatively-named computer vision syndrome.
Sounds neither comfortable nor productive, right?
As a group of square-eye sufferers ourselves, we spoke to the experts at Warby Parker, a leader in the eyewear space, to get some sage advice on keeping your peepers in prime condition. Here are some of their top suggestions:
So basic, yet so effective. Turning down device brightness to match natural light in the room can do wonders, according to Warby Parker. They also advise using your device’s Night Mode feature to reduce screen “temperature”…
… which doesn’t really mean temperature at all, but actually relates to how much blue light your device emits. Play around with your computer, smartphone or tablet settings and think about the simple adjustments you can make – they might just have some serious long-term benefits.
Self-regulation of screen-time
Another simple-yet-satisfying option is to break up screen time, giving your eyes a chance to relax. The experts at Warby Parker outlined two such methods, and, when it comes to beating that blue light, we’re on their wavelength:
This stipulates that, for every 20 minutes you spend at a screen, you should spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. Hence the catchy name. This has been proven to relax eye muscles.
This similarly encourages breaking work up into shorter chunks, giving your eyes some well-deserved R&R. Although it is mostly concerned with productivity, better eye health is a happy coincidence.
Blue-light filter glasses
Ironically, if your screen time hasn’t already rendered you blind without your glasses, one option might be… glasses!
Warby Parker suggested we keep an eye out for specs that filter out blue light, and, priding ourselves on our own research methods, we asked around the office. We found that our very own psychometrist, Luke, was keen to talk up their positive effect on your sleeping pattern:
“Though sceptical at first, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my sleep quality since I started [wearing them]… and a rapid deterioration when I forget. ”
Sadly, Warby Parker didn’t offer any advice on preventing forgetfulness. But, as more companies start offering eye tests to workers, maybe we’ll soon see blue- light filter glasses frequenting a perks policy near you!
In an inescapably digital world, where it seems your every open role requires a computer, side-effects need to be managed.
We understand – when weighing up your selection of work perks, free eye tests or special glasses might not be high on the list. But, as we’ve seen, they can have a massive impact – not just on your workers’ output, but also their comfort and health. Which makes anything improving employee eye-health a bona fide bang-for-your-buck investment.
At least, that’s how we see it!