Tired at work? You might just as well be drunk.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

58% of Display Screen Equipment operators, according to HSE Better Display Screen RR 561 2007, suffer debilitating, repetitive stress injuries from eye strain and binocular vision stress.

The symptoms are blurred or worse double vision, migraine, myopic and asthenopic disease, work-related upper limb disorders or WRULD’s, Back Pain and other Muscular Skeletal Disorders.

We also know over-exposure to the near work in poorly lit areas and being close-up on-screen for prolonged periods presents as early-onset tiredness with fatigue increasing error rates, mishaps and even accidents.

And now we know that Laboratory studies “have established that the performance impairments due to fatigue and alcohol consumption are quantitatively similar”.

“The impairment in safety due to fatigue was in a range similar to the impairment associated with moderate levels of alcohol consumption. In summary, the study demonstrated that the effects of fatigue in a simulated work environment can be quantified and may be considerable”.

Dr Colin Espie, a professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford, and the Royal Society for Public Health, says that sleep deprivation affects these three cognitive functions the most: our reaction times, our ability to multi-task and our short-term memory. It can even impair our ability to build new memories”.

It’s long been known from time and motions studies that workplace ergonomics are a critical human element/factor in occupational health, performance and productivity and in addition to the biological/homeostatic effects of day and work-lighting on human resources.

Your environment is crucial to your well-being.

So in the current absence of a “Right to Disconnect” and slow compliance with implementing Work Exposure Limits (ISO 45001 / 45001 / 41503 / 30071.1), whether returning to an office, WFH in a more Hybrid lifestyle, joining the Self-Preservation Society may be the only option when looking after your eyesight.

Reducing the fatigue caused by staring at your screen all day is easy to change. Start by doing a few simple things: 1) adjust the brightness of your screen, 2) find the best-coloured background for your screen.

We explain the how and the why on our blog. Give them go, you might just surprise yourself how much better you feel.

Nigel Dupree is the founder of the S.M.A.R.T Foundation, and creator of the Display Screen Optimiser to help reduce the signs and symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome.

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