By Wendy van Wyk, Registered Biokineticist

National Eye Care Awareness Month is commemorated from 21 September to 18 October 2022 by our Department of Health to raise awareness about the importance of eye health.

Prolonged use of computers, smartphones, tablets or e-readers can cause computer vision syndrome (CVS). Symptoms may include eye strain, dry eyes, double vision and more. These computer-related eye problems have become widespread.

Up to 70 million workers are globally at risk of suffering from the condition, according to a report published in Medical Practice and Reviews, and that number is expected to continue growing.

A key component of an ergonomic workplace often forgotten is lighting. Ergonomic lighting is essential for workplace well-being, and it plays a crucial role in preventing Computer Vision Syndrome.

Improper lighting, whether it’s too little or too much lighting, contributes significantly to digital eye strain. Appropriate lighting, without shadows or glare, can reduce eye fatigue and headaches.

Many people work on their computers in a relatively dark room with just a bright desk light. This causes illumination imbalance, forcing your eye muscles to contract and expand constantly to adapt.

The different aspects of providing adequate lighting include light intensity, light temperature, glare control, and flicker. Lighting ergonomics not only helps in mitigating physical health issues, but it can also improve your mood and productivity.

Using ergonomic task lights with adjustable brightness and variable colour temperatures are beneficial because they allow you to reduce the light to the perfect level of ambiance. Lighting should be pleasant and make you feel comfortable.

Ergonomic lighting affects physiological and psychological factors which influence productivity. Lighting design should provide people with the proper visual conditions to enhance task efficiency. Make full use of natural lighting; use blinds to diffuse the natural light to avoid glare when needed.

The following is a checklist of how to optimise the lighting conditions of your workstation.

  • Position the workstation in relation to the light source to avoid shadows or glare.
  • Monitors shouldn’t be surrounded by bright lights or placed in front of the window to avoid glare.
  • Balance overhead and ambient lighting to avoid a strong contrast between lighter and darker areas.
  • Use a damp cloth to clean light fixtures regularly – the dust on the bulbs can reduce the amount of light.
  • Increase the number of light fixtures in the right places.
  • Use light-coloured paints for walls and ceiling for reflection.
  • Use task lighting and reflected light to get rid of shadows.

At Ergonomicsdirect we care about our clients’ eye health, and in support of National Eye Care Awareness Month.

If you are experiencing eye strain while you work, feel free to contact us – we’re happy to assist you.

Till next time, please stay safe out there.

Yours in Ergonomics,


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