Dry eye symptoms such as red, watery, stinging eyes can negatively affect your work. But could your work environment actually be causing or exacerbating your symptoms? Recent research shows that where you work can heighten your risk of developing dry, irritated eyes.
Which Work Environments Increase Your Risk of Developing Dry Eye Symptoms?
Several factors appear to contribute to dry eyes. In fact, a survey of American and European office employees found that a third suffered from dry eye symptoms.
Research has shown that prolonged physical inactivity and staring at computer monitors increases a person’s susceptibility to developing dry eye syndrome.
Staring at a computer screen can reduce the number of times a person blinks by 30%. That’s problematic because blinking is essential for lubricating the eyes and keeping the protective tear film that covers the eye intact. If you find your eyes becoming irritated or uncomfortable at work, try blinking more, especially while using the computer and reading.
The humidity level of the air in the office also plays a role. Overuse of air conditioning and heating can cause the air to become dry, increasing the rate of tear evaporation. Having insufficient tears is a leading cause of dry eye symptoms. If you find that your work environment is too dry, try using a humidifier to add some moisture back into the air.
The Great Outdoors
Certain outdoor jobs can expose the eyes to eye-drying elements like wind, debris, and direct sunlight. Wind and heat can cause the eye’s tear film to prematurely evaporate, leaving the eye unprotected and susceptible to dryness.
Other factors that contribute to dry eye syndrome include pollution and exposure to harmful UV rays. Outdoor workers such as construction workers, farmers, and lifeguards should always use protective eyewear while working.
How Your Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help
Dry eye symptoms can range from mildly bothersome to debilitating. A comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Colleen Mitchell and Dr. John Dovie will determine the underlying cause of your symptoms so the most effective treatment can be offered.
Relief from dry eye symptoms extends far beyond the options available at the drugstore. If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms of any degree, contact Blacksburg Eye Associates to discover how you can achieve long-lasting relief. We look forward to hearing from you.
Blacksburg Eye Associates serves patients from Blacksburg, Radford, Christiansburg, New River Valley, and throughout Virginia.