HR & Management

Why our screen-based work and play lifestyle is damaging our vision

5 min read

24 September 2018

Reporter, Real Business

We all spend countless hours looking at screens, but what are the implications for our health and work-based productivity?

We’re in the midst of National Eye Health Week, and people everywhere should be sitting up and taking note of their visual health. This isn’t just a week for optometrists to celebrate their much-respected profession. Employers and employees need to think about how long they are staring at their screens.

We are increasingly reliant on screens for our working and recreational lifestyles – the average Brit is spending 10-14 hours in front of one, which is causing untold damage to our eye-sight, sleep patterns, and our workplace productivity.

‘Don’t look into the light’

It’s 2018, and we’ve finally entered the dystopian phase of our workplace existence. We are all consuming too much blue light. This high-energy light is produced from all digital devices and over-stimulates the brain and eyes, affecting our sleep patterns by suppressing the production of melatonin in our bodies.

As technology has progressed, more of us are working off screens on a daily basis, meaning that working society on average consumes more of this dangerous blue light than any other generation has in the past. And it’s making us tired and therefore increasingly unproductive at work.

Invest in screen-tech to protect your workforce

Employers can put a stop to fatigued employees and low-level productivity by investing in smart technology that protects employees from harmful screen emissions.

Patel has developed a simple product that has a huge impact on eye health and employee productivity.

Dhruvin Patel, an optometrist, and founder of Ocushield, a brand that develops screen protectors for phones and computers, has created a product that blocks the health-damaging emissions from screens whilst allowing for visual clarity.

This means workers can get on with their daily tasks –  just without the harmful effects of blue light exposure.

A true startup success story, Patel developed the product as part of a university competition whilst studying at London’s City University. Creating the only blue-light preventing product that is registered as a medical device, Patel is a true health-work industry disruptor, but he isn’t the only one creating screen protectors. A host of other affordable brands are available, including Retina Guard and Fiara, meaning SMEs shouldn’t feel locked out from better eye health and workplace productivity.

Preventative methods produce productivity wins

As digital technology is still new, the long-term effects of exposure to screens are still relatively unknown. That’s why employers should make a start by implementing relatively low-cost strategies to cut down on the harmful effects we already know about, such as blue light exposure.

“Staring at screens can contribute towards eye strain, fatigue, headaches, dry eyes, and blurry vision. When your eyes are healthy, you sleep better, you feel better and you get more done. By taking care of your eyes you take care of so much more.” – Dhruvin Patel

As well as footing the bill in providing screen protectors for office devices, employers should also work on cultivating a workplace culture where regular screen breaks are encouraged. Although screen protection implementation will cost employers initially, preventing eye-health and productivity-damaging emissions should be seen as a crucial health policy that needs to be fulfilled.

“We want to be able to lead the conversation in this space to encourage more research and collaboration between academics and businesses, to protect the future wellbeing of ourselves and our families.”

Just as building companies often carry the costs of managing health-damaging asbestos chemicals from buildings for the sake of their labour workforce, office-based employers should encourage the same level of care for their screen-watching workforce.

Implementing preventative tools and strategies now could be the difference between a happy and productive workforce, and a series of brand-damaging lawsuits once employees develop serious eye-health issues.

So, SME employers, invest in health-saving and fatigue busting screen protectors for your office computers, because – healthier employees are happier and harder working employees.