Dry eye symptoms such as red, watery, stinging eyes can negatively affect your work. But could your work environment cause or exacerbate your symptoms? Recent research shows that where you work can heighten your risk of developing dry, irritated eyes.
Work environments that increase risk of developing dry eye
A survey of American and European office employees found that a third suffered from dry eye.
Several factors contribute to dry eyes. Research has shown that prolonged physical inactivity and staring at a computer monitor 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 intact the protective tear film that covers the eye. 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. 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 Baltimore’s top optometrist can help
Dry eye symptoms can range from mildly bothersome to debilitating.
A comprehensive eye exam from Dr. Howai (Jenny) Chan will determine the underlying cause of your symptoms — this helps her find the best treatment options for you!
If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, contact Clarity Eyecare to discover how you can achieve long-lasting relief. We look forward to hearing from you!
Clarity Eyecare is located in the Lake Falls Village shopping center in Baltimore, conveniently near the Roland Park, Towson, and Hampden neighborhoods.