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Passionate, Proud Advocates

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Workplace computer time can cause eye problems

Many Oklahoma employees are required to use a computer at work. While computers are a convenient tool, there are health hazards associated with spending too much time in front of one. Carpal tunnel syndrome is perhaps the best-known computer-related health hazard, but individuals may also develop “computer vision syndrome” as a result of staring at a screen for too long.

Monitor glare and flickering can trigger eye problems, as can the constant change in focus caused by staring at a physical document and then looking back at a screen. Over time, a worker can develop dry eyes and blurred vision. Other possible symptoms include neck, shoulder and upper back pain. This pain is sometimes triggered when a worker continuously leans forward to get a better look at his or her screen.

Eye specialists recommend that people be proactive in self-care to prevent computer-related vision issues. One simple suggestion is to set a timer that goes off every 20 minutes. When it does, the worker should look away for 20 seconds at an object 20 feet away. People should keep monitors slightly below eye level and consider the use of a glare screen.

In some cases, problems caused by staring at a computer screen without appropriate accommodations from an employer may result in severe pain and the need for medical treatment. Individuals who have suffered as a result of computer vision syndrome may benefit from speaking with an attorney who has experience with workers’ compensation claims. With this type of a workplace injury, it is certainly possible that an employer or insurer would try to challenge the claim on the basis that the employee also used a computer at home, so having legal assistance throughout the process could be advisable.

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