Safety Tip of the Week

This week Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, provides information about preventing everyday eye fatigue.

Everyday Eye Fatigue

Do your eyes burn, itch or feel tired? Eye fatigue is a common condition that is uncomfortable but rarely serious. You can take simple steps to prevent your eye fatigue.

Anything requiring intense eye use can cause fatigue. Some common actions:

  • Reading
  • Screen time (computer or digital device)
  • Writing
  • Driving

If you look at bright light or spend time in a place that’s too dim, it can also trigger fatigue.

What Are the Symptoms?

Be on the lookout for:

  • Sore or irritated eyes
  • Trouble focusing
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Pain in the neck, shoulders or back

Sleep or rest refreshes your eyes, and lack of sleep may lead to repeated eye irritation.

How Can You Prevent Eye Fatigue?

Make some simple changes to:

Your computer screen:

  • Place it 20-26 inches away from your eyes and a little below eye level.
  • Regularly clean off dust and fingerprints from the surface. Smudges can reduce contrast and create problems like glare and reflections.
  • Use a glare filter for your screen.

Your work environment:

  • Change lighting to get rid of glare and harsh reflections.
  • Use an adjustable chair.
  • Place a document holder next to your computer screen.

Your work habits:

  • Try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Post a note that says “Blink” on your computer as a reminder.
  • Take regular breaks from computer work.

Your eye-care routine:

  • Apply a washcloth soaked in warm water to tired eyes.
  • Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
  • To help prevent dry eyes while indoors, use an air cleaner to filter dust and a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

If this does not help, then it’s time to see the doctor who can make sure your symptoms aren’t linked to a larger problem like an eye muscle imbalance. A doctor can also tell you if you need glasses or a contact lens prescription.