Staring at computer screens for as little as a few hours can cause eye strains, dry eyes and blurred vision, as well as headaches. While these symptoms are typically not permanent, they could, if ignored, result in chronic, potentially serious eye damage.
Blue light and serious eye damage
The blue light emitted by computers, tablets and smartphones (as well as TVs) can reach one of the eye’s deepest parts and damage the retina, which is without doubt the kind of serious eye damage office employees need to avoid. The effect of exposure to blue light is cumulative and has been associated (Dr Ronald Melton, Review of Optometry) with AMD (age-related macular degeneration) development.
Eye muscle overuse
Another type of computer-related eye injury is overuse of the eye muscles. Leading to muscle aches within and around the eye, this is linked to reading on computer screens, which can be particularly exhausting due to the angle of a computer screen in relation to the eyes.
Ways to prevent serious eye damage
The best way of preventing computer screen-related eye injuries at work is to blink frequently, use the 20-20-20 method (stop looking at the screen every 20 minutes to stare for 20 seconds at an object 20 feet away) and take regular breaks (ideally, employees should take a 5 to 10-minute break after every 50 to 60 minutes of continuous screen/keyboard use).
Employers and eye injuries
Employers not only have a legal duty to protect workers against accidents at work, they are also required to prevent eye strains and other repetitive strain injuries by assessing potential risks and taking the necessary precautions to minimise these risks. This may include allowing computer users to take regular breaks or undertake other tasks away from their workstation at regular intervals. Where staring at a screen is required all day, installing blue light filters may also be necessary.
Your right to claim
If you have a workplace accident or suffer from eye strain, a more serious eye injury or a repetitive strain injury of any other kind because your employer did not minimise potential risks, you may be able to claim work injury compensation. Our no-obligation freephone advice line, 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 (for calls made from landlines or mobiles respectively) is open 24/7 and completely confidential. Call us now and let our Accident Advice Helpline legal team assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.
Date Published: December 9, 2015
Author: David Brown