Eye Health and Safety Should Be Job One

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Spotlight focuses on work-related risks during Save Your Vision month

SATURDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- Job-related eye strain and injuries cost the American economy billions each year in lost productivity, but 90 percent of those problems could be prevented with simple measures, such as having workers wear properly designed and fitted protective eyewear, experts say.

"Healthy vision is critical to successfully completing job-related tasks," James Sheedy, director of the Vision Ergonomics Laboratory at the College of Optometry at Pacific University and the American Optometric Association's (AOA) occupational vision specialist, said in a news release. "And while most people think of construction or manufacturing as high-risk occupations where eye injuries are prevalent, even jobs requiring 'smart phones,' laptops and desktop computers can cause vision problems if not used properly."

Eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, fatigue, blurred vision and loss of focus are among the symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS).

"CVS can be a serious problem for those who spend hours in front of a computer or hand-held electronic device on a daily basis. However, in this digital era, no one expects Americans to simply stop using these devices. Small steps can make big changes to ease vision strain," Sheedy said.

To mark Save Your Vision month in March, the AOA offers the following tips for preventing computer vision syndrome:

  • After at least every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  • Increase the font size on hand-held devices so that you can use them at a distance that's comfortable for your eyes, instead of having to hold the devices close to your eyes.
  • Adjust the brightness of your screen to a comfortable intensity -- neither too bright nor too dim.
  • Try to reduce glare on hand-held device screens by making sure lighting is not directly behind the head or in front.
  • Position your computer or monitor or hand-held device slightly below eye level. This position makes it easier for the eyes to focus on reading material.

The AOA also says that workers in many professions -- ranging from auto repair to health care -- need to use protective eyewear to reduce the risk of eye injuries. The use of proper eye protection, such as safety glasses, goggles, face shields and helmets, could prevent thousands of eye injuries.

Eye protection is also important when working around the home.

More information

Prevent Blindness America has more about workplace eye safety.


-- Robert Preidt
Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
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