Eye Strain - A Common Office Ailment
What is Eye Strain
Eye Strain is one of the most overlooked ergonomic ailments, and it is widespread throughout workplaces today. Eye strain occurs when workers experience an insufficient amount of light across their workstation, a scenario which can cause discomfort not just in the eyes, but in other areas as well.
The problem often lies in overhead lighting. When overhead lighting is used as a single source for multiple workers, their needs are not met due to the simple fact that different people require different amounts of light. The amount of light needed to clearly make out words increases with age. As we age, our eyes undergo a number of changes that affect the quality of our vision. The corneal lens hardens and develop opacities, the ciliary muscles that control the lens atrophy with age, the process of accommodation becomes increasingly difficult, and near field viewing requires correction, causing the worker to squint to clearly make out objects. This is what is known as Eye Strain.
How Does Eye Strain Become an Ergonomic Issue?
We often think of ergonomics as it relates to our backs, but ergonomics is actually an all-encompassing term that refers to the well-being of our entire body. When we squint our eyes too often, they can become tired and worn out. Even those of us with perfect vision can feel the effects of Eye Strain if we're working without an adequate amount of light. While Eye Strain can have serious negative consequences on our eyes, it can also lead to problems in other areas as well.
Our bodies often compensate for Eye Strain by sitting in positions that reduce its effects. When we can't see clearly from the position we're sitting in, we lean forward, and often hunch over our desk to read whatever is on it. When this is done over and over again, our backs, shoulders, and arms feel the effects of sitting in this less than optimal position. In this way, Eye Strain can become an ergonomic risk to the rest of our body.
How to Avoid Eye Strain
As mentioned previously, overhead lighting is often the source of Eye Strain in office environments. It's not hard to see why this one-size-fits-all approach to lighting leads to problems. A far superior approach is to use task lighting at the individual level. This has numerous advantages, the most beneficial of which is that task lighting can be focused directly across the worker's desk surface so that fine print is easy to read in a more reclined seating position. Many task lights also feature adjustable levels of brightness, allowing workers to find the optimal amount of light for their workspace.
Another user-friendly device that can help prevents eye strain is the computer monitor arm. These arms give you the ability to position your monitors in a way that makes the words on them much easier to read. Most people simply put up with the fact that their monitor is too far away for their eyes- and when your computer monitor is sitting on your desk- that often time has to be the case because you need the space in front of your for your keyboard or whatever reading material happens to be occupying you at the moment.
Monitor arms simply and easily solve this problem by taking your monitor off your work surface, allowing you to position them closer to your eyes while keeping your work surface free. Smart Furniture recommends Humanscale Monitor Arms to reduce the strain your eyes go through everyday.