You may never have thought that working in an office could pose a risk to your health. After all, you’re sitting down for the most part in front of your computer, not working on the shop floor where you could injure yourself with heavy lifting, for example.
However, office work does have its health hazards, and it’s as well to be aware of what these are and what to do to try to head them off at the pass.
Look after your eyes
Perhaps you don’t think that staring at a screen for hours will give you any problems, but the longer you are at your computer, the more chance there is of you developing eye problems that could lead to more serious effects.
The most common form of eye problem through excessive computer work is dry eye. If you think of how you read a book, with your eyes down, compare that to how you look at your screen. The likelihood is that you’ll look straight ahead, and that exposes a lot of surface area on your eyes. This significantly contributes to the eyes rapidly drying.
You may also experience eye strain, called asthenopia. This is caused by you staring for a long time at the screen, using minute muscles in the eyes focusing on an object that’s extremely close. If you don’t take breaks, your eyes will get tired and painful.
These two problems can lead on to you experiencing nausea and headaches, making you less productive and possibly to you needing time off. If these problems do happen to your eyes, you should aim to get professional treatment from an eye specialist as soon as you can.
The name given to these problems is Computer Vision Syndrome, so it’s well known enough for a specialist to know what you’re talking about when contacted.
What can help prevent this?
Regular breaks away from the screen can make a major difference as to whether or not you develop dry eye or other visual problems, so you need to be disciplined and ensure that your office manager understands why.
Get up and move about every so often. Sedentary working can lead to high blood pressure and increase the possibility of obesity – both of these are very bad for the eyes.
If you work near a heating or cooling system, a larger amount of air will pass across your eyes and dry them out more quickly. If you have the option, move your desk.
Good office lighting, designed to be less bright than lighting that was originally designed for people working with paper documents rather than on screen, can help reduce screen glare and consequently be more beneficial to the eyes.
Check the position of your screen. Too close and you’ll raise the chance of you getting asthenopia. Move it back and don’t put it too high up. If you do, you’re asking for neck and back strain problems.
If you use common sense when you’re doing screen work, you can avoid the worst problems, but take advice on treatment if something does go wrong.