All day long, we are hit with ultraviolet rays and excessive sunlight. Sometimes, the exposure can be therapeutic, like in the case of red light therapy. However, excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and our electronics can be harmful, especially if we work from home while staring at a computer all day.
In our increasingly remote world, where we are sitting for long periods of time switching our attention from the television to our cell phones to the computer screen, we are hit with an even greater level of UV exposure than ever before. To prevent potential harm, you need to know how to keep the exposure under control. Let’s talk about the issue of UV rays and what you can do to stay protected.
The Danger Of UV Rays
To understand the risks, you first need to learn a bit more about where harmful ultraviolet rays come from and the harm they can cause over time. When we typically hear about UV rays, many of us think about the Ultraviolet B rays (UVB) that come from the sun.
Keep in mind that some exposure to the sun is okay and even necessary in order to get the essential amount of vitamin D that our bodies crave. Plus, some UV radiation can even positively impact your mood and increase your energy.
However, it is important to remember that overexposure to UV rays is bad for our health and our world in general. In addition to hurting your eyes, causing headaches, and potentially causing skin cancer, excessive sun exposure can also damage and discolor our furniture, and over time it can degrade the ozone layer, which makes the situation even worse.
What you may not realize is that you don’t necessarily need to be outside to get hit with UV rays. The electronic devices that we use for work and play all emit a form of UV exposure often referred to as blue light. Essentially, it is a low wavelength, high-energy light that is unnatural to the eyes. When we don’t take breaks from technology, the rays can cause harm over time, so it is essential that you are careful during your long remote work days.
A Work/Life Balance Can Prevent Harmful Effects
The danger of screens and blue light is nothing new, but the problem is that along with the rise in remote work, there is also the chance that we are looking at computers and electronic devices more than we should.
When we work out of an office, there is a certain time of the day when your coworkers leave, the lights go out, and you have to face a long commute home. However, when we work from home, it becomes harder to disconnect and leave the office. Sometimes, if your office is in the kitchen or living room, you may feel like you are already home, so there is no reason to leave, and you could find that you are working 10 hours a day or more.
That is why the first step to protecting yourself against increased UV exposure is to take control of your job and implement a smart work/life balance. Talk to your manager and set your work schedule, and don’t stay past your eight hours unless it is absolutely necessary. You also need to take your breaks and lunches. When you do, get away from your desk and take a walk and get some fresh air. The park is a great choice since the greenery can put our minds at ease.
You can also try more relaxing activities when you are off of work that don’t involve watching TV or scanning social media. For instance, you could practice yoga or learn to meditate, or just lose yourself in a good book.
Protect Your Eyes While You Work
If you ever get a headache or feel your vision blur after completing a long work project, then you are likely feeling the negative effects of UV exposure due to prolonged screen time. While not always unavoidable, it is essential that you are proactive to limit potential harm. Start by positioning your computer screens at a proper distance. Typically about 30 inches from the front of your face, so you create a space to reduce exposure.
You can also use little tricks while you work to minimize the strain on your eyes. A great exercise is the 20-20-20 rule, where you stop working every 20 minutes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Do that throughout your shift, and you’ll be in good shape. Also, consider switching between tasks to give your eyes a break. Work on that comprehensive report on your computer, then call a customer or do something else that doesn’t require a screen.
Finally, consider investing in a pair of computer glasses that are specifically designed to filter out the blue light that emits from your screen. You can find the glasses at a local pharmacy, but you don’t need a prescription unless you want to add the computer filter to your existing frames. They are generally inexpensive, but they can do wonders as far as reducing eye strain and eliminating blue light. Then when you are done with work, you can take them off. It is an easy solution that could prevent a lot of eye pain.
As you can see, it is important that you manage the number of UV rays that you see while working from home. Consider the advice and tips listed above and stop unnecessary blue light exposure today.