Tired young male feel pain eye strain hold glasses, rubbing dry irritated eyes, fatigued from computer work, stressed man suffer from headache, bad vision sight problem sit at home table using laptop

The Unseen Threat: Dry Eye Disease in the Workplace

When you think of workplace eye safety, the first image that might pop into your mind is a construction worker wearing giant plastic eye shields that fit over glasses. And you’d be right; it’s important to wear protective safety glasses if working with flying objects or debris, and sunglasses if you’re outside. But did you know office workers are four times MORE likely to have dry eye symptoms than construction workers? 

What are Dry Eye Symptoms?

  • Red eyes
  • Irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye feeling tired
  • Discomfort wearing contact lenses
  • Feeling like something is in your eye
  • Unclear vision
  • Stinging eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • A scratchy feeling in the eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes

Workplace Tips

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, and whether you work indoors or outside, here are 4 steps you can take to protect your eyes from irritating dry eye symptoms:

  1. If you work in a bakery or food prep environment, there may be airborne particles that can irritate your eyes. Employers should also consider investing in proper ventilation systems to reduce airborne contaminants. Warm compresses or washing eyes with baby shampoo twice daily may also help alleviate dry eye symptoms caused by airborne particles.
  2. Stay hydrated throughout your workday. Maintaining proper hydration may help the body produce adequate tears to keep the eyes moisturized and avoid dry eye symptoms.
  3. Aim any vents in the car or next to your desk away from you, so they aren’t blowing directly into your eyes. You could add a humidifier and air purifier to your home and office.
  4. Remember the 20-20-20 rule: 20 minutes of screen time, reading, or work, a 20-second break to blink, and looking at least 20 feet away.

How Do I Treat Dry Eyes?

If your eyes feel uncomfortable at work and you wonder if it might be from dry eyes syndrome, check out our About Dry Eyes Page.

  • Book an appointment with one of our optometrists for a routine eye exam to ensure your eyes work well!
  • If you have had an eye exam within the last two years and have concerns about dry eyes, book a dry eye consultation with Royal Oak Optometry. After your consultation, you will be provided with a treatment plan which may include light, heat, and non-invasive physical procedures. Some of our treatments include Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), Radiofrequency (RF), and ZEST.
    • We also provide in-office high heat massage; Blephex, which is a treatment for blepharitis; and sell eye drops over-the-counter (or by prescription when required). In cases of tear duct or eyelid problems, we refer to oculoplastic surgeons.

This website does not provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice or delay in seeking treatment because of information found on this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor (the Royal Oak Optometry Clinic phone number is 250-479-8206) or dial 911.

Thank you to the American Academy of Ophthalmology for their tips to ease eye strain image used on this website.

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