An office job is hard labour for the eyes: they become dry from the constant staring at the monitor. Air that is too dry – as is often the case in air-conditioned or heated offices – brings an additional burden to the eyes. With Office Eye Syndrome the eyes itch, burn and hurt. Relief can come from a correctly set-up workplace and lubricating eye drops.
Infrequent blinking causes the eyes to dry out
Although the movement is tiny: blinking is essential for the health of our eyes. With the help of this “windscreen wiper effect”, the tear film on the eye is renewed at regular intervals. Even our brain forgets this involuntary reflex while we are staring at the monitor. The system falters and the surface of the eye is not sufficiently lubricated.
What’s more, most offices are equipped with air-conditioning systems which run at full blast, especially in summer. The dry air is not good for your eyes. It leads to premature evaporation of the lacrimal fluid (warm air from the heating also has the same effect in winter). The combination of the infrequent opening and closing of the eyelids and the strong evaporation make the surface of the eyes dry out.
Why do dry eyes water?
When your eyes are dry, they start to water. This may appear paradoxical at first, but there is a very logical explanation: due to the lack of blinking, small particles remain in the eye as they are not washed out. These foreign bodies intensify the existing irritation which is already there. Your eye produces a lot of lacrimal fluid as a reaction to this, in order to get rid of the foreign body. However, the additional lacrimal fluid does not lubricate the eye because it flows straight off. A dysfunction in the composition of the lacrimal fluid can also lead to your eyes constantly watering.
In addition, the following symptoms can occur with Office Eye Syndrome:
People afflicted find dryness not only unpleasant, it can also bring with it serious consequences. For example, bacteria could build up more easily and cause conjunctivitis.
If you set up your workspace correctly, you can reduce Office Eye Syndrome
If you already suffer from dry eyes, it is high time to check your workplace and to make it easy on the eye. The following tips will help to lighten the load on your eyes:
- Keep a distance of 50 to 80 centimetres from your monitor.
- Your desk should be 20 to 50 centimetres below your horizontal line of vision. That way, you can ensure that you can easily look down when you look at the monitor. This is more comfortable for your eyes.
- Make sure you have the correct lighting at your workplace. Ideally, this is a mixture of ceiling lighting and a desk lamp. It is also possible to combine different illuminants such as conventional bulbs, halogen light and fluorescent tubes – these light sources contain different portions of colour (blue, red and green) which resemble daylight when combined.
- If possible, your monitor should not reflect any other light source. The best position is at right angles to the window. If this is not possible because of the floor plan, a prefixed anti-glare filter can help. These can be fixed to the reflecting monitor with adhesive tape.
In addition, you should spoil your stressed eyes with a small break every now and then. Look away from the monitor briefly and let your gaze wander around the room. It is about moving your eyes, not your head – that way, even the small eye muscles get trained to fully relax. So-called “palming” can have a regenerative effect: warm your hands for this by rubbing them together, for example, then close your eyes and gently lay your palms on them. The warmth and darkness relax your stressed eyes.
You should also not underestimate the atmosphere in the office because heating and air-conditioning systems put a strain on your eyes. So make sure you have a pleasant indoor climate by ventilating sufficiently in summer and increasing the humidity in the room in winter with the aid of water bowls placed on the radiators.
Artificial tear fluid brings quick relief
In addition to the steps you can take, it makes sense to use lubricating eye drops regularly. The HYLO® EYE CARE products range offers the right lubrication and eye care for every level of intensity of the symptoms. HYLO® FRESH is especially recommended for lubricating tired and stressed eyes if you suffer from mild, non-permanent problems. The classic HYLO COMOD® has proven itself for treating moderate forms of dry eyes. Intensive lubrication with HYLO® GEL. is best suited for treating very severe symptoms. A nurturing eye ointment for the night, such as VitA POS® ointment, improves the tear film and so also supports the regeneration of your eyes.
If you are unsure which products are right for you, ask your doctor or pharmacist – both will be able to recommend suitable drops for you. You should also consult a doctor if your Office Eye Syndrome symptoms do not get better despite thorough eye care. A serious disease could be the cause.