According to an article entitled Impact of Dry Eye on Work Productivity, posted by the National Library of Medicine, patients with dry eye have symptoms 191-208 days annually. Symptoms of dry eye include itching, burning, stinging and blurred vision. If you’re a typical patient, it’s very likely that you’re slowing down your pace or pausing to deal with symptoms nearly every day you’re at work.
In addition to losing time to implementing dry eye treatments such as warm compresses, washing out your eyes, applying medicine or stepping into the restroom to rub the blurriness away, there’s also lost PTO to doctor appointments. All of this work slowdown is from directly dealing with the dry eye symptoms, but there are additional side effects that can also cause lower productivity levels.
Patients with dry eye may attempt to compensate for symptoms such as stinging and blurred vision by leaning into their workspace or computer monitors or tablet screens a bit more in order to see better. This posture is not ergonomically friendly, which means it can lead to additional medical issues (and time away from work) related to the neck and back.
According to WebMD, the most common cause of dry eye is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).
MGD causes include:
Age (probability increases over 40)
Long hours spent reading screens (phone or computer)
MGD symptoms include:
Irritation (feeling like you have something in your eye)
MGD prevention and initial treatments include:
Taking an eye break every 20 minutes (blink several times and focus your vision at least 20 feet away)
Rinsing out your eyes
Massaging your eyes (if your eye doctor suggests this for you, here’s a video of a massage technique)
In prior posts about circulation and back health, it was recommended that if you sit or stand for most of the day at work, you walk around for a few minutes every 30 minutes or so. You can add in the MGD prevention of blinking at the same time to help avoid progressing to dry eye.
If you have noticed a change in your vision, condition of your eyes, or an increase of eye fatigue, it’s highly recommended that you see an eye doctor before the symptoms worsen and require more treatment!
For more information about MGD and dry eye, see this article from AAPOS.
For additional self-care tips that will improve your productivity, check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.