There are currently over two and a half billion individuals around the world who have been diagnosed with short-sightedness. Short-sightedness may not seem like a health risk; however, the numbers are growing at a fast rate. Scientists estimated that the myopia pandemic is going to reach five billion by 2050. With the world population projected to reach a little under 10 billion in 2050, approximately half of the people will need to wear corrective glasses for everyday needs.
Most experts believe myopia is linked to modern lifestyle. Indeed, the increase is not only genetic, but it is also linked to environmental factors. For instance, children are spending a lot of time indoors, which seems to multiply the risk of developing short-sightedness. While for many, short-sightedness is perceived as a mild inconvenience, it is important to remember that it is the third leading cause of blindness. Individuals who develop high myopia are also at risk of facing complications with eye health too.
Everybody needs to play a role in protecting the global population’s eyesight in the future, and that also includes businesses. Eye care and eye health prevention need to become part of everyday business processes. Here’s how companies can make a difference and protect their employees:
#1. Provide protection for workers exposed to risks
Is short-sightedness the only risk factor when it comes to eye health? The answer is not. Blindness and severe eye conditions are more likely to happen as a result of accidental damage. For businesses, this means putting the safety of workers first. The typical office environment presents relatively few issues when it comes to eyesight accidents. However, members of staff who are engaged on work sites or have to handle potentially toxic or dangerous materials require additional protection. Indeed, health and safety measures can only go so far. Safety glasses, however, such as the ones here, are necessary to protect eyes from abrasive products and obstructive materials. The professions that need protective gears in priority work in the construction industry, in manufacturing areas, in laboratories, in science education, in pharmaceutical and chemical warehouses, and the food production industry.
However, businesses should also consider one-off events, such as an active charity challenge or DIY events that could expose eyes to additional risks.
#2. Encourage regular screen breaks in the office
By definition, myopia – or short-sightedness – is the result of vision loss which impair long-distance vision. Myopia is not a high health risk per se; however, it can contribute to health complications if left untreated or uncorrected.
Research shows that environmental factors are driving myopia increase in some regions. Indeed, the decrease of outdoors activities and increase of work or near-work related activities play a significant role in eye health. Additionally, high-pressure environments, as those that affect children in many Asian countries throughout their education, can also aggravate the situation by developing high strain and pressure on the eye.
How does this relate to businesses? Companies are encouraging high-screen presence and promoting hard work. In the UK only, the average employee works 50 to 60 hours a week, instead of the usual 40. Overtime doesn’t just cause mental fatigue but also increases pressure on the eyes. It’s time for companies to make regular breaks away from the screen mandatory!
#3. Offer fully paid screen glasses to everyone
Digital eye strain is one of the most frequently ignored health complaints in the office. Indeed, the excessive amount of screen time can lead to a variety of health issues. More often than not, eye fatigue develops as a result of prolonged exposure to artificial light. However, most people can mistake it for generic tiredness. It’s not uncommon for people in the office to grab an extra coffee during the day in an attempt to tackle fatigue. However, excessive consumption of caffeinated drinks doesn’t resolve the problem. It can make it harder for individuals to relax at the end of the day, which means that they can’t rest their eyes. In the long term, eye fatigue can turn into blurred vision and create a terrain for myopia. However, if companies were to provide screen glasses, free of charge, to all their employees, they could dramatically reduce eye issues and complaints.
#4. Have one fully paid eye test for each employee
It’s important to mention that screens do not damage vision. But they can create an environment that facilitates eye problems, including short-sightedness. Employers run display screen equipment risk assessment frequently. Health and safety regulations in offices are designed to make employees aware that they need to take frequent breaks from the screen to reduce eye fatigue. However, what a lot of employees ignore is that the company should also pay for eye tests for those who use display screen equipment and request a test. It’s not uncommon for employees to forget about the option to have their eyesight tested for free.
As a business, it becomes essential to promote this service and encourage employees to put their health first. Eye test appointments should be available for your team even during working hours.
#5. Introduce a nap hour for those who need it
More and more companies have been putting relaxation on top of the business plan. As such, companies such as Google have introduced a variety of measures to help their teams relax. From in-house gym studios to nap zones, employees can take regular breaks away from the screen to recharge their batteries. Unfortunately, while the break culture is predominant in Japan and some US areas, it hasn’t yet made an impact on the British businesses. Creating a safe zone where people can rest their eyes is becoming essential to preserve eye health in the workplace. That’s where napping pods are allowing employees to relax, undisturbed and screen-free. The introduction of relaxing areas that are away from screen light can reduce eye strain and eye fatigue considerably.
#6. Avoid office glare
Screen glare happens when a direct source of light hits the screen. In an office environment, screen glare can come either from sunlight at certain hours of the day or from an ill-placed lighting system. In the long term, glare can also cause eye fatigue, headache, and blurred vision. These factors can gradually lead to eyesight weakness. However, reducing office glare can be quick and easy. Screen protection, such as an antiglare film overlay can ensure that employees can continue their work undisturbed. Indeed, it would be unfair to expect from your team to remove the source of lights in the office.
#7. No more dry eyes
When you work on a screen, you tend to blink less frequently than you would otherwise. As blinking keeps the eye naturally moist, screen work can sometimes dry out eyes. Unfortunately, dry eyes can get itchy or uncomfortable. People are more likely to rub their eyes, which can lead to potential risks of infections. Keeping eye drops to humidify eyes in the first aid pharmacy at work can reduce infection spread. Additionally, it’s a good idea to maintain bathroom areas clean and introduce germ-free hand dryers. As such, employees who accidentally rub their eyes at work are less likely to cause an infection.
Global eye health is deteriorating rapidly. While every individual needs to take the matter into their own hands, it is essential to remember that businesses can also play a part in protecting eye health. Indeed, prolonged exposure to artificial screen light can lead to fatigue and myopia. Additionally, vision loss can occur as a result of myopia complications, or failure to provide sufficient protection for dangerous activities. Businesses too hold the key to the future global eye health, and it’s time they take their responsibility seriously.