March was Workplace Eye Wellness Month, but even after the month has passed, it’s always a good idea to keep your eye health a priority. Most people don’t think twice about their eyes unless they’re going in for an eye exam. But at most of our jobs, we use our eyes constantly — more than many of our muscles, in fact.

Because of this, Workplace Eye Wellness Month was invented to help put some focus back onto our eyes while we’re on the job. See some of the ways that you can protect your eyes at work, and schedule your annual eye exam with Dr. Cottone or Dr. Lang!

If you work in a labor-intensive industry…

Safety goggles should be your best friend. Miners, construction workers, carpenters, and any other labor-intensive workers should always have well-fitting safety goggles that they wear at all appropriate times. While most employers in these industries will require you to have your safety goggles on, it’s still a good reminder that you (and your eyes) always deserve proper protection.

If you work outside…

Wear the best possible sunglasses that you can. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can lead to long-term eye damage. Cataracts, macular degeneration, photokeratitis, and other conditions can all develop from too much sun exposure. In addition to this, the sun also emits high-energy visible radiation — also referred to as “blue light” — which, like blue light from computer screens, can lead to eye problems later on. Just as you wear sunscreen (or should) when working outside, make sure your eyes are also protected.

If you work in an office…

You need to take a few precautions to protect your eyes. Blue light from screens can be harmful to your eye health, and affect your eyes if there’s too much exposure. We still don’t really know the exact effects of blue light over long periods of time, solely because screens and using screens constantly has only become more popular (in both the workforce and in life as a whole) over the past two decades. However, Prevent Blindness states that “Early research shows that too much exposure to blue light could lead to digital eyestrain… retina damage.”

Digital eyestrain feels like your eyes are tired, dry, sore, or like you might have difficulty focusing. Continual exposure to blue light could damage your retinal cells, and cause age-related macular degeneration or cataracts.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to protect your eyes:

  • Purchase a pair of computer monitor glasses to wear while you’re at work. These glasses are tinted yellow and offset the effects of blue light when you’re working at a computer.
  • Install f.lux to your desktop monitors to help adjust the screen brightness and to curtail the blue light. This is especially helpful if you already wear glasses and don’t want to wear another pair of glasses or switch to contacts.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, look 20 feet away (not at a screen) for 20 seconds.

In addition to following these best practices, you can continue to protect your eyes by setting up annual visits with your eye doctor. You can (and should) always come in for an eye exam if you experience any problems, but a routine visit is a great way to ensure your eye health continues to thrive.

Bayside Eye Center is Punta Gorda’s top choice for eye exams, picking out new and stylish glasses, eye wellness and general health checkups, LASIK, and more. See for yourself why so many continue to trust in the eye doctors at Bayside — make your next eye appointment today!