Is Screen Use Increasing Workplace Eye Injuries?

office injurie

Work-related eye injuries are traditionally found in outdoor settings, such as lumber yards or on construction sites. However, office work has been found to be a significant source of workplace eye injuries. Paperless processing has streamlined some office tasks, reducing the need to print, copy, fax, and file paper documents. Many office workers no longer have breaks away from a computer screen. Nowadays, office workers often spend long uninterrupted periods looking at computer screens. This work pattern is associated with an increase in eye injuries and disorders.

Types of Eye Injuries from Computer Use

The risk from exposure to computer screens may be due to exposure to blue light emissions from light-emitting diode (LED) technology. Computer screens emit a significant amount of blue light and generates energy waves. Exposure to blue light might be responsible for eye injuries, including computer vision syndrome and retinal damage.

Digital eye strain may be caused directly by exposure to blue light, or it may be caused by the habit of blinking less frequently than normal while using computer screens. Less blinking results in less moisture of the eyes and greater strain on the eyes. Symptoms of eye strain can include dry eyes, sore or irritated eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and/or facial muscle fatigue from squinting.

What are Risk Factors for Eye Problems?

Certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of experiencing eye problems and work injuries from computer use, including the following:

  • Glare on the screen.
  • Reflections of other images on the screen.
  • Using very bright background light.
  • Sitting too close to or too far away from the screen.
  • Viewing images or character fonts that are too small.

It is likely that combining risk factors increases eye injuries. Additionally, working in a stressful environment can increase the chance of experiencing eye problems from using computers.

How can Eye Injuries be Prevented?

It is possible to reduce the risk of experiencing eye injuries from computer screens. Using best practices can serve to significantly reduce the risk. These include:

  • Adjusting screen image.
  • Arranging the workstation.
  • Reducing direct or reflected glare.
  • Taking regular breaks from the screen.
  • Using protective eyewear with blue light filters.
  • Caring for eyes.

The screen should have adjustable contrast and brightness. It should be free from flickering lights and properly adjusted so that images are clear and sharp and not blurry. Font size should be large enough to see comfortably. The workstation should be arranged so that the screen is at a right angle to the user and is not impinged by a direct source of light. This configuration reduces glare. The LED screen should be designed as anti-glare or be fitted with an anti-glare filter.  Reflected glare reduces contrast, colors, and sharpness of the display, adding to fatigue and eye strain.

Regular breaks will give eyes a chance to rest and reduce risk of injury.  Optometrists often suggest the 20/20/20 rule, where every 20 minutes of computer use should be broken up with looking at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. It is also important to remain hydrated. Drinking water and potentially using over-the-counter artificial tears can reduce dryness and help avoid eye strain.

Wearing the proper prescription lenses is also important. Regular comprehensive eye examinations at least once a year will ensure any necessary prescription glasses are up to date. If prescriptions are necessary, wearing eyeglasses is preferred over contact lenses. If eyeglasses are worn, they should be treated with a coating to filter out blue light.

Office workers can experience eye strain and other work-related eye injuries.  When the work injury is significant enough to cause missed work and medical bills, the employee will likely be eligible for Workers’ Compensation. A lawyer can help determine if their client is eligible for benefits.

Delaware County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Represent Employees with Eye Injuries

It is important to file a claim in a timely manner, properly, and with adequate documentation. The Delaware County Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello understand the severity of eye injuries, and we can help you determine if you are eligible for benefits. Call us at 610-892-4940 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, and West Chester, Pennsylvania.