Happy New Year! As you shake off the holiday sloth and start preparing yourself for those resolutions you promised you’d keep this year, why not resolve to break some bad health habits you didn’t even know you had, both at work and home?
Keep an eye on a healthy workplace
Many of you have jobs that require you to sit in front of a computer for extended lengths of time. But did you know that your eyes often work harder when looking at a computer or digital screen than paper? The group of eye-related problems associated with electronic devices is called Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain. Fortunately, there plenty of things you can do to prevent or correct these issues. You can:
- Get a routine eye exam at least once a year to make sure your eyes are healthy and your prescription is accurate and up-to-date
- Take frequent breaks when using a computer
- Stand up, move around, and stretch
- Try some over the counter artificial tears if your eyes feel tired after prolonged computer work
- Minimize glare from your monitor
If you work at a very noisy job, you could be hurting your ears. And don’t think you’re safe if you don’t work at a construction site. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends workplace noise levels be kept below 85 decibels (dB), but firearms, concerts, and sporting events can exceed 100 dB, too. To protect your ears, you should:
- Get routine hearing exams
- Wear earmuffs or foam earplugs
- Ask your supervisor if you can build a sound barrier or use quieter equipment if the environment allows it
A happier, healthier home
There are plenty of things you can do around the house to stay healthy, too. To start, you should protect your ears from excessive noise. Do you listen to loud music in the car or with earbuds? You should lower the volume. And if you’re at the gym taking group exercise classes after the holidays, you might want to consider bringing hearing protection with you in case the music’s too loud, CEENTA ENT doctor Leighanne Dorton, MD, said.
If you’re mowing the lawn, you should wear hearing protection. Mowing the lawn or listening to loud music can hit levels of 90 dB, and sounds over 85 dB are no safer at home than they are at work.
And don’t forget your eyes. Since you probably spend just as much time, if not more, staring at screens at home, make sure you follow the same steps as above to protect your eyes. And while you’re outside mowing the lawn, make sure to wear sunglasses, as UV rays are a significant contributor to cataracts, macular degeneration, and even cancer of the skin around the eyes. Are you eating enough healthy food, or are you gorging on fast food? If it’s the latter, you probably aren’t getting the vitamins and minerals your eyes need. Plus, eating healthy and losing weight can help prevent diabetes, which can cause retinal damage.
Safety glasses are a big help, too. “Make sure to wear safety glasses when working with tools, doing yardwork, or playing sports where injury to your eye is a possibility,” CEENTA Ophthalmologist Bradley Allen, MD, said. “A huge number of severe eye injuries we see can be prevented with a pair of safety glasses!”
Being aware of your habits can help keep you healthy, and we hope 2018 is your healthiest year yet.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. To make an appointment with Dr. Allen, Dr. Dorton, or any of CEENTA’s doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.