Desk Jobs Affect Your Eyesight More Than You Think

With nearly 80% of adults in the U.S. working desk jobs (via The Desired Desk), that's a lot of people spending 40 hours a week staring at computer screens. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to the development of various health conditions such as high blood pressure and blood sugar, heart disease, and even cancer (per the Mayo Clinic). In addition, sitting and typing at a desk for hours each day can affect our eyesight.

Blinking is our body's way of keeping our eyes hydrated. Researchers of a 2005 study discovered that when participants stared and squinted at computer screens, the number of blinks per minute went down by 50%. Even minor squinting dropped the rate of blinks from 15 per minute to 7.5 blinks per minute. When the participants started blinking less frequently, they reported higher instances of eyes aching, burning, and tearing.

It turns out that prolonged exposure to computer screens puts desk workers at risk for Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS is characterized by painful eye strain and can cause blurred vision, eye dryness, headaches, or double vision (via Forbes).

How to reduce eye strain during the work day

Professional Education Director at Johnson & Johnson Vision Dr. Charissa Lee spoke with Forbes about ways office workers can reduce eye discomfort while working at a computer. One suggestion is to implement the 20-20-20 rule. That is, while at your computer, make a concerted effort to look away from your screen every 20 minutes by focusing your eyesight on an object 20 feet away for a total of 20 seconds. In doing so, you give your eyes a much-needed break consistently throughout the day. Moreover, try to blink as much as possible throughout the day to help keep your eyes moist and healthy.

Furthermore, diet helps with vision health, so pay attention to what you eat. Consider packing a lunch chock-full of leafy greens, carrots, nuts, and fish — all of which are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. As reported by Verywell Health, 95% of Americans aren't getting enough omega-3s, which play a critical role in vision health. Leafy greens in particular are great for your retinas, according to Dr. Lee, and by fueling your body with eye strain-fighting foods, you can help support your eye health each day of the workweek.