How you should take care of your eyes when you telecommute


The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 deepened a work modality that had already been growing in recent years: teleworking.

In this way of working, the use of screens is mainly used, so eye care is essential. Find out here what precautions you must take into account to protect your eyes while teleworking.

Telecommuting can be defined as a form of work that is performed in a location far from the office or production facilities of a company.

This can be done through the use of cell phones, tablets, and computers, among other information and communication technologies. For this reason, many surveys found that adults in America spend on average more than 10 hours in front of a screen each day.

Another research finding is that we blink less when reading or looking at a screen, causing our eyes to become dry and irritated. This causes eye or vision fatigue, a condition that in turn can lead to headaches, blurred vision, and other forms of discomfort.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take during the day to reduce constant screen exposure and prevent eyestrain:

Take breaks

Specialists agree that it is very important to take frequent breaks when teleworking. Normally, it is advisable to rest 15 minutes every hour and a half to two hours, although recently another form of recreation has become very popular: the 20-20-20 rule.

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What does it consist of? Simple, every 20 minutes you should take a 20 second break, and focus on something that is 20 feet away (6 meters).

During these breaks, you can also take advantage of blinking conscientiously, since when working in front of a screen, blinks are reduced from 15 to 5 per minute, and perform simple movements, such as stretching arms, legs or shoulders to promote blood circulation.

Another key aspect occurs during mealtime. When working remotely, having lunch in front of the screen may seem more efficient or be an opportunity to save time, but the truth is that your eyes and brain will thank you for taking a break.

This not only serves to prevent eye strain but also to relax you and get a better perspective on what you are doing.

Correct position

During telework we spend a lot of time sitting in front of the screens, so good posture and correct disposition are key.

Make sure the computer is at least an arm’s length from your face. Also note that:

  • The elbows should be close to the body, at angles that range between 90 and 120 degrees.
  • The thighs and hips should be parallel to the floor, well supported, and if possible, on a padded seat.
  • The height of the chair should allow you to support your feet comfortably.
  • You must keep your back straight, avoid leaning towards the screen.
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Other tips

Good posture when teleworking and being aware of the need to take frequent breaks is essential to prevent visual fatigue, however, there are other factors that you should not overlook:

  • Screen position– Experts advise tilting it approximately 20 to 25 degrees below eye level.
  • illumination: It is important that natural light does not generate reflections on the screen that overexert the eye. Nor should you work in dark environments that impede peripheral vision.
  • Alternatives to screens– Video calls are often required to schedule meetings, which can be exhausting on the eyes. Therefore, whenever you can avoid this modality and resort to telephone calls. This tip also applies when developing drafts (instead of the computer, go for the traditional pencil and paper).

Don’t forget to visit the doctor

Many times it is said that the eyes are windows to what is happening in the body, therefore, it is essential to keep these windows in good condition.

In addition to following the tips outlined above, don’t forget to schedule yearly eye exams, even if you have good vision or don’t suffer from eye strain or discomfort.

An eye examination is used to know the state of the blood vessels and nerves, at the same time that it allows detecting any condition in time to carry out the best treatment.

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Its benefits are not limited to identifying vision problems, through eye exams the ophthalmologist can detect other health problems, such as high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, sexually transmitted diseases and cancer.

Sources consulted: American Academy of Ophthalmology, US National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic, National Eye Institute.

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