Monday, 29 August 2011

FATHER'S DAY SPECIAL: Here's looking at you kid! Ways to relieve eye strain

How many times have you been staring at your computer screen only to have to keep rubbing your sore and tired eyes? Eye strain is becoming more commonplace as companies move to become 'paper-free'. With everything you need on a computer screen, and monitors becoming bigger and brighter, increasing reports of eye strain is no surprise. It can result in physical fatigue, eye twitching, decreased productivity and increased numbers of work errors.

Here are some tips to reduce eye strain:

1. Give your eyes a break! Eyes are one part of the body that don't get much down-time during the day. Luckily there are more than one set of muscles that move the eye, so you can give one set a break by using another. Try shifting your focus from close objects (computer screen) to distant objects (out the window or across the office) regularly. Who knew that staring out the window when at work could be a good thing!

2. Reduce glare: From overhead lighting, to sunlight coming in from the window, glare off the computer screen could be a reason for that burning and tired sensation in your eyes! Try using window blinds to block the direct light, angling the screen so that it is at a 90 degree angle to a side-light source, or tilting the screen to reduce the glare from overhead lights. Where possible, read reports and long emails off paper instead of the computer screen.

3. Adjust the contrast: Make sure the brightness of the screen isn't excessive in comparison to the light in the area around the computer (think of this like looking at a bright screen in a dark room). While increased contrast on the screen will make things easier to read, the lighting in the room should be at a moderate level to balance this out. Also make sure the font size is comfortable for you to read without squinting or craning your neck to view.

4. BLINK! Studies show that people blink 5 times less frequently when working at a computer. To reduce your risk of dry eyes during computer use, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help keep your eyes moist.

5. Step away from the computer... Many people do not take their allocated meal and tea breaks, instead sit for 7 - 8 hours a day. Taking 5 minute 'mini-breaks' away from the desk can assist in relieving eye-strain, as well as neck, back and shoulder pain, and can actually increase productivity!

If all else fails - get an eye examination from an Optometrist. You may need glasses or a change in prescription.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Office Chairs Aren't Lounges

Are you a Slumper?

Check your sitting posture right now.. Is your back in contact with the backrest of your chair? Is your bottom at the very back of the seat? Are your feet flat on the floor or footrest? Are you even sitting on a standard office chair with swivel and adjustable footrest?

If you answered no to any of these questions you are very likely making your body sore without even realising it! When you sit with your hips lower than your knees or your bottom forward from under your shoulders, your pelvis tilts backwards and your body slumps. This then leads to your low back arching backward and your upper back and neck compensating by arching forward. Not so comfortable right? Not sitting upright in a supportive chair can bring on different area of pain in different people. One person may experience low back pain, while another may get neck pain or headaches.

Posture is simply a habit you develop, so to improve your sitting posture, give yourself little reminders such as post-it notes that you can stick onto your monitor that reads: Sit Up! or Sit Straight! It may not give you perfect posture all the time, but if you adjust yourself to an upright sitting posture every time you see the note, it'll definitely be a move in the right direction!