Why WFH might be bad for your eyes, according to a Singapore optometrist

Article by Chew’s Optics Specialist. 2 December 2021

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Does this sound familiar to you? You’re at home, free from distractions and discomfort. From the moment you wake up, you immediately jump to your desk to start work. You’re totally focused and in the zone. Before you know it, it’s already 2 pm.

With no colleagues around to ask you out to lunch, you seemed to have forgotten about your mid-day meal. Because it’s too late to take a 1-hour break, you rush for the cup noodles and slurp it up at your desk.

At 7 pm, you know you should be cooking dinner, but you’re almost done with your project. So you decide to work for just another 10 minutes. But 10 minutes turn into two hours. Finally, you settle down for dinner at 9 pm and spend the rest of your evening watching sitcoms on Netflix to unwind. Maybe you’ll scroll through your social media feed and text a few friends too before you head to bed.

And just like that, you’ve spent 10 hours looking at digital screens in a day.

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How working from home is hurting your eyes

According to a study by recruitment agency Robert Half, about 45% of employees say they clock in more hours while working from home, as opposed to working at the office. Almost 70% revealed that they’ve had to work on the weekends as well.

This means that employees are spending more time in front of the computer, and less time taking breaks and getting out of the house. Coupled with movement restrictions, we’ve also had to adjust to connecting with our loved ones virtually (i.e. through a screen).

It’s no surprise our eyes are suffering. The increased screen time (and increased exposure to the digital glare, also known as blue light) is forcing our eyes to work overtime. More importantly, extended periods of close-up work may affect the ability of your eyes to switch between focusing on far and near objects. It might start with blurry signposts before you start having trouble reading the subtitles on your TV screen after a long day at work.

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Signs that your eyes are suffering from WFH

If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms more frequently while working from home, you might want to visit an optometrist. Chances are, your eye health has taken a hit from being cooped up at home too long.

  • Eye strain: When your eyes feel tired or sore from focusing too intensely on a screen or book.
  • Dry eyes: When it feels like there’s something in your eye, as well as a stinging sensation.
  • Itchy eyes: When you constantly feel like rubbing your eyes.
  • Blurred vision: When certain objects around you start to appear less clear.
  • Headaches: When you feel pain behind or around your eyes.
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How to keep your eyes healthy

Work-from-home arrangements might be here to stay for many of us. But that’s no reason to let your eyesight continue to deteriorate. Instead, we should learn to pick up healthier habits for our eyes.

For one, make sure your home office setup is ergonomic. The top of your computer screen should be at (or slightly below) eye level. It should also be at least an arm’s length away from your face, which is about 50cm.

Your home office should also be well-lit. And don’t forget to take breaks regularly to look away from the screen. Get outside, start exercising or take a walk without your devices. Ideally, you should focus on an object about 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes throughout the day.

To protect your eyes from digital eye strain, consider getting a pair of anti-fatigue, anti-blue light spectacles from Chew’s Optics. They’re specially designed to filter out blue light from your devices, whether it’s a computer, smartphone, tablet or TV screen.

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Haven’t checked your eyes since WFH?

Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with a seasoned optometrist in Singapore like Chew’s Optics. A session with us starts from $20 and usually takes about 20 minutes to complete. It’s just one small step to improve your eye health as you continue to work from home.

We’ll go in-depth with a vision acuity test, refraction test, dry eye test, and other preliminary tests (depending on your eye health). Besides updating your prescription, our optometrists will also go the extra mile to understand your lifestyle habits and preferences before offering personalised suggestions.

If you’re new to wearing spectacles, you’ll get recommendations on the best frames for your face and skin tone too! Here are a few more reasons to visit an optometrist in Singapore.

Book an appointment with Chew’s Optics now, or swing by our optical shop at 144 Teck Whye Lane, #01-211. We’re open daily except for Mondays. For further enquiries, contact us at +65 8314 7093.

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