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Weekly Wellness Word: Vision

Monthly Theme: Sensing

This week’s word is Vision

What exactly do you need to do life? What are the essential components of being able to accomplish your daily tasks? Close your eyes a moment. How much can you do with your eyes closed? Not much, right? Consider for a moment what that realization means to you.

Our eyes are one of the most important resources we have in our lives, yet we too often take them for granted. Sometimes they become more of an annoyance to us, especially when they burn, itch or water after hours upon hours of staring at a computer, tablet or smart phone screen. We just don't have time for tired eyes. Or do we?

What might it look like to view your eyes in a new light, so to speak. These tiny orbs might be trying to send you a message. Would it be a true statement to say that when your eyes are tired that you are tired all over? Could it be true that when your eyes burn, itch or water, your body is trying to encourage you to extend a little self-compassion to yourself?

This week try as best you can to be kind to your eyes. Step away from the computer for a bit. Lay the smart phone down for awhile. Look outside for a minute or two. Admire something beautiful and colorful. The world is bigger than the tiny screens that dominate your life. Look around you and let your eyes take it all in.

Quote of the Week

Tips to Protect Your Eyes If You Work in an Office

“You may think you’re safe because you’re not working in a factory or warehouse where danger is apparent. But, working in an office presents its own set of challenges. Sure, you might not be in immediate physical harm, but you are susceptible to vision impairments due to your work environment. What many people are unaware of is that working in an office can harm your eyes. Some people may laugh at this being a serious problem, but it is. Impaired vision at work can cause you to be less productive. Plus, it will start to affect your everyday life.

Digital Eye Strain

A common vision condition that affects many office workers is digital eye strain. Similar to computer vision syndrome (CVS), digital eye strain is caused by too much screen time. When your eyes are exposed to the blue light of the screen and small fonts, they become over-focused and overworked.

Digital eye strain can have several symptoms. This includes:

- Itchy eyes

- Dry eyes

- Eye pain

- Blurred vision

- Headaches

- Neck pain

- Upper back pain

Digital eye strain may also affect your sleep. Studies have shown that excessive exposure to blue light can affect your sleep cycle. The blue light messes with your biological clock. This fools your brain into thinking that it’s daytime, when it is actually nighttime. This confusion will lead to an interrupted and uncomfortable night’s sleep.

But, before you quit your office job for something a little less stressful on the eyes, consider this: digital eye strain is 100 percent preventable and treatable. Even better news: you won’t have to spend a dime to do it!

Adjust Your Computer

The number one culprit when it comes to vision problems in office workers is your computer. Computers are essential in office work. You can spend a half a day just responding to emails! Imagine what that will do to your eyes! Computers are not evil. They just weren’t designed to be stared at for hours on end. There’s an easy fix to counter the effects of your computer.

First, adjust your computer monitor’s position. For a more comfortable work day in front of your computer, place it at arm’s length away. Then make sure that your direct eye line falls somewhere two to three inches below the top of the monitor. You can do this by either adjusting the actual monitor or your chair.

You will also want to tilt your screen slightly upward to get rid of any glare. Glare is not only irritating, it interferes with what’s on the screen. It can also strain your eyes as they have to force themselves to focus on the contents on the screen and to ignore the glare.

Next, you need to adjust the brightness on your computer. If you have at 100 percent brightness, you need to lower it immediately. Bright lights emitting from your screens will only cause your eyes fatigue. In the long run, this will make you less productive. Lower it to about 75 percent if you work in a brightly lit office. If you’re working in an office with more natural light or natural lighting, you may be able to get away with a brightness of 45 percent. Play around and find which brightness level is most comfortable for your eyes.

If you want to go the extra mile, you could always try blue light glasses or install a blue light filter on your computer. There are plenty of free filters available online. What these filters do is filter the blue light and give the light on your screen a more natural hue. Many filters even change hues throughout the day to match the natural progression of daylight.

Open the Blinds

Speaking of natural light, if you have the option to open the blind to your office windows and turn off those horrid fluorescent lights. This is obviously not a viable option for people who don’t have their own corner office with lots of natural light.

But if you work in a cubicle or in an office with no windows, buying a small lamp that emits a light closer in tone to natural lighting can make all the difference. Natural light isn’t harsh on the eyes. It will also eliminate the glare on your computer screen. If you’re feeling bold you may even let it slip to the office administrator that people would be more productive if they replaced the fluorescent lights with a duller light. It’s a bit of a stretch but you never know! Modern offices aren’t what they used to be. Casual is the new formal.

Natural lighting will also make you less likely to feel sleepy throughout the day. I’m sure we’ve all felt that midday lull at some point in our lives. Although many factors can cause this lull (lack of sleep, poor diet, etc.), it can also be caused by digital eye strain.

Take a Break

Your eyes are in desperate need of a break! Give it to them! If you want to give your eyes an effective break, use the 10-10-10 rule. Every 10 minutes, look at something 10 feet away for 10 seconds. Give them a break right now. Go on, we’ll wait. Done? Ok, great! How do your eyes feel? Did you notice how they had a chance to relax and defocus? That’s what the 10-10-10 rule is all about.

Extended periods of extreme focus can cause your eyes to fatigue and may cause blurred vision. You may even experience temporary nearsightedness. When you do too much “close work” (work that is close to the eye), your eyes become trained in seeing well up close, but begin to lose their distance vision.

Talk to Your Doctor

Digital eye strain is nothing to worry about. It is easily treatable naturally and without any sort of prescription. A combination of these tips and eating a healthy diet or taking an eye-healthy supplement  can make a huge difference in improved vision.

However, sometimes digital eye strain can be mistaken for an undiagnosed refractive error. If you use our tips and still find that you are experiencing digital eye strain symptoms after two weeks, schedule a routine eye exam with your doctor.”

- Rebuild Your Vision

Next Step

How to Circle Your Eyes

"Turn your chair away from the monitor, preferably so that you can sit facing a distant view. Sit fully in your chair and lean back. Breathe diaphragmatically one or two breaths and allow the tension to flow out of your body with each exhalation. This exercise is best done with eyes closed.

Now, gently touch with the tips of your index fingers the inside edges of your eyebrows. Let the pressure of your touch feel similar to the weight of a quarter resting on your arm. Begin to make a circular motion with your fingertips, remaining in that one spot. Circle each finger outward - the right circling clockwise, the left counter-clockwise. Maintain contact with your skin, and continue to breathe diaphragmatically. Make sure that you do not lift your shoulders. Continue circling for 5 to 10 seconds.

Slide your fingers along the edge of the bone that encircles your eyes maintaining contact with your eyebrows or skin and stop at the following points. At each point, make small circles for 5 to 10 seconds, always circling outward:

The center points above your eyes

The end of your eyebrows

The outside corners of your eyes

The center points below your eyes (you should feel a little notch in the bone)

The point where the bone begins to curve up

Let your hands drop to your lap, inhale, and then as you are exhaling slowly open your eyes and look a distant object or view.

In addition, limit the time spent watching TV or playing computer games.

Give your eyes a break and go for walks in the fresh air where your eyes can feast upon luscious green plants.”

Further Information

Office workers can take a few simple steps to help prevent eyestrain and fatigue. Prevent Blindness suggests:

For more Healthy Computing Tips, visit the link below. A complete glossary of topics is provided below.

Breathe Effortlessly Give Your Laptop a Raise Air Out Your Vocabulary Another Microbreak Armrests Assume Goodwill Back Flexibility Bathroom Break Beer Budget Ergonomics Blink and Breathe Body Sensations Breathe As You Reach Calm Your Thoughts Change your Breath Chest Stretch Chuckles Circle Your Eyes Clean Air Clean the Air Clear Vision Correct Height Could It Be Me? Create Mousing Space Daily Athlete Desk Height Do the Opposite Drop Your Shoulders Eight Components Ergo Creativity Exercise Time Eye-Neck Relaxation Foot Ball Massage From the Heart Get Energized Get Swinging Grounding Stretch Have a Ball Hold the Phone How to Incorporate the Eight Components How To Take Frequent Breaks If It Is Just Ergonomics, Why Do My Employees Still Hurt? Increase Energy Integration Breaks Keep It Warm Keep Them Short Keystrokes Laptopitis Leg and Foot Room Let Us Know Life After Five Like the British Make It Readable More Keystrokes More Relief Move and Sway Oppositional Optimal Distance Play With Your Feet Rediscover Fine Control Regenerate While Waiting Relax and Breathe Relief Relief and Pamper Time RIS Scotch Tape Reminder See Shoulder and Arm Stretch Shoulder Rolls SIS Split Keyboard Squeeze Stability Ball Stretch Your Abs Take a Walk The Wave Too High or Too Low Transpose to the Future Trim and Fit Use a Headset Use Your Interruptions Vertically Challenged Wall Slide Wiggle and Reach Work Area Working Postures Workstation Condition Improve The Air

Have a GREAT week!

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