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March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, which focuses on keeping your eyes safe on the job.

When we think of eye safety, what usually comes to mind is protecting our eyes from hazards that construction workers, trades and mechanics may face. Projectiles such as dust, concrete and metal, as well as chemical splashes and fumes are common in these environments and require proper eye protection in the form of safety glasses, shields or goggles.

Health professionals also require proper protective eye wear to eliminate the risk of acquiring infectious diseases, which can be transferred through the mucous membrane of the eye.

According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, 700 Canadian workers sustain eye injuries on the job EVERY DAY. Some of these injuries result in temporary or permanent vision loss. But 90% of these injuries are preventable with the use of proper safety equipment, including safety eye wear.

Computer Vision Syndrome (also known as Digital Eye Strain) is a lesser known cause of vision related problems that arise from prolonged computer, tablet and Smart phone use.

We, as Canadians, spend an average of 7 hours a day looking at a screen, which can result in our eyes losing their ability to function properly. Headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, excessive watering and dry eyes are all symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome.

Here are some tips to remedy vision strain, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists:

  • Position your screen about arms length away, and 20 degrees below eye level
  • Remember to blink frequently. We blink an average of 12 times per minute, but when we’re using a computer we only blink 5 times per minute. Frequent blinking reduces dry eye. You can also use an artificial tear drop or gel to relieve discomfort. Ask your optometrist to recommend one for you.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule! Take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
  • If you wear glasses, ask for lenses with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare and reflections. Most lens manufacturers now make computer specific lenses that are optimal for those of us who spend the majority of the day on the computer.

Our eyes are the most important organs of sense. If we lose or damage our vision, it would have a huge impact on our lifestyle. Protect them and take care of them!