Desk Job Dangers
Some people think that desk jobs can be relatively relaxed positions. You get to sit all day, type on a computer, and stay in a comfortable climate controlled building. While all of these are true to some capacity, your health can certainly suffer from this kind of job.
We talk about eyes a lot on this blog, but as healthcare professionals our main goal is to educate our patients about full body health. As comfortable as we may think desk jobs are, we must remember that they pose health risks just like any other position. In this blog, we want to go over some problems we see many patients come in with, and how simple fixes might be able relieve some of the stress computers and sedentary living might put on our bodies.
Headaches: Nearly everyone has had a headache at one point or another. Sometimes, the need for glasses can cause headaches, but more often, the cause is actually the way you hold your body. Poor posture can not only cause tension headaches, it can also cause other pain in different areas of your body, such as your wrists and legs. While we are on the computer, we want to make sure that our backs are straight, feet are squarely on the floor, and that we are not slouched forward. Hunching over can cause pinched nerves in your back, shoulders, and neck, all of which can lead to stress headaches.
Double and Blurry Vision: As we work, our eyes focus on our screens. With prolonged use, our eyes become tired, dry, and irritated. Distorted vision can occur for a variety of reasons. When we focus at one distance for too long, the muscles in our eyes become strained and can cause our vision to blur. Dryness can also cause blurred and double vision. Dryness as it relates to computer work is sometimes caused by not blinking enough as we stare at our screens. If you are experiencing double and blurry vision, you might look into getting a pair of glasses for computer use. These glasses relax our eye muscles so they don't have to work so hard. For combating dryness, there are many different ways to help. See our other article on dry eye here.
General Strain: After a few hours of typing away, you might notice that when you get up to go to lunch your body feels a little stiff. If you’ve been working without many distractions, you also might notice your vision is a little blurry in the distance. Though working diligently is great for productivity, it is not necessarily the best for our bodies. Sitting improperly at computer desks can cause general strain on your body, affecting your back, joints, shoulders and neck. Strain behind the eyes is also very common. Make sure to get up to move and stretch every 30 minutes to make sure you’re not putting undue pressure anywhere it shouldn’t be.
Bad Nutrition: Many offices allow their employees to eat and drink at their desks, and this can be a blessing and curse. Mindlessly munching away often leads to weight gain, as well as other health problems. Drinking sugary sodas, coffees, and teas can also lead to unwanted calorie intake, so make sure you’re paying attention to how much cream and sugar you’re using. Poor nutrition can take a toll on your vision, as it puts you at risk for diseases, like diabetes, which can have catastrophic consequences if left undiagnosed.
Dry Eyes: As we said, not blinking enough while on the computer can dry your peepers out super quick. Because blinking is the furthest thing from our minds while working on that big report for the boss, we need to make a conscious effort of it. Increasing the amount of blinking you do while on the computer will help dry eye symptoms. When we blink, we clean our eyes and refresh the natural tears we create. Our tears also contain different layer that aids in stopping evaporation. Before you reach for your eye drops, make sure you give your eyes a break from the screen by blinking a few times and focusing on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.