The American Optometric Association (AOA) reports that visual discomfort, eye strain and eye injuries are a very common occurrence in the workplace. In fact, 2,000 workers in the U.S. sustain preventable job-related eye injuries each day that require medical treatment. Practitioners must also warn patients about the prolonged use of electronic devices, as it may lead to symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), such as eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, fatigue, blurred vision and loss of focus. Here are the AOA guidelines for keeping discomfort down while using a computer or a PDA:

• Remember the 20-20-20 rule. At least every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
• Smaller screens challenge vision. Instead of bringing the screen closer to the eyes, increase the font size so the device can be used at a distance that is more comfortable for your eyes.
• Better resolution offers greater clarity and usually more comfort.
• When possible, try to make sure lighting is not directly behind or in front of the head. Reduce glare, which may ease reading and can make a bigger difference than increasing the font.
• It’s easier on the eyes to focus on reading material that is below eye level.

The AOA also recommends these key elements to protect eyes from injury:

• Before starting work, eliminate hazards such as using machine guards, work screens or other engineering controls.
• Wear the proper eye protection and make sure it is correctly fitted.
• Keep safety eyewear in good condition, and replace it if it is damaged.

For additional information on eye safety in the workplace, visit