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Is the poor natural light at work damaging my eyes?

(8 Posts)
Middleoftheroad Wed 12-Apr-17 08:23:43

In Sep I moved from a light office to a new office with 6 of us. In my role I am almost permanently based for six solid hrs a day on a VDU and reafing documents.

My eyes are deterorating rapidly and I have a prescription reading glasses. In a room with natural light I find my eyes work much better and I don't need glasses as much. They dont feel strained in a naturally light environment.

This new office (a modular building - portakabin) has two windows. Four workers sit along that wall.
however, the blinds are down permanently as a couple say they suffer glare and from light sensitivity issues. These workers are out and about most days so not always in the office like I am.

We have a ceiling light above each desk. It's dim though and it causes my eyes to strain - I don't always want to put my glasses on though as I know if I were by a window with natural light (it has to be natural) like in my previous office, I could read easily without glasses. So, if I put my glasses on - or if I don't - I end up with sore eyes. I also have a lazy eye/squint. I'm 43 now and find over the last months my eye is really drifting lots (which is bringing me down) and wonder if it is the strain?

When we moved in, one of the colleagues who I did not work with previously, joked that she wishes she were in my seat (there are two of us on the far wall away from windows) and I so I said "let's swap" but it was just met with a smile.

I'm also sat directly under the air con. Dreading summer as it was on when we moved last Sep and it made my eyes dry and sore.

Should I talk to my manager who also sits in the office or just grin and bear it? I know tge two senior colleagues who suffer from light sensitivity have already seen him though to see if they can have darker desks etc as the white reflects on tgeir pcs!

I really noticed the difference moving from one office with good natural lighting to this. I am seriously considering leaving as I am worried this is damaging my eyes to the point of no return and straining my lazy eye to the extent that it is now all over the place.

My post probably seems petty as my eye problem is in contrast to colleagues whose eyes suffer from too much light! But I know that even more 'strip' lighting wont help as my eyes only seem better when working in a room with natural light. when I freelanced, I would sit in my consetvatory, as when I worked in my dark study, I had to put light and glasses on all day.

Don't know what to do.

Middleoftheroad Wed 12-Apr-17 19:47:07


itsbetterthanabox Wed 12-Apr-17 19:57:16

Id ask to move. But also bring in a good quality lamp for the desk.
Have you spoken to occupational health? A screen for your computer would help too.

underneaththeash Wed 12-Apr-17 22:35:07

Usually the more light you have the better you will see (unless you have glare issues), so it is likely that you will need your glasses more when there is less light.

However, you cannot damage your eyes by not having enough light, you'll just need to wear your glasses more.

Sitting under the air con can make your eyes more dry. Which would explain the redness and soreness.

With regards to your squint getting worse, it could be one of several things. Make sure that your screen is arms length away and that the top if the screen is level with your eye level, if you eye turns in, make sure that you do wear your glasses when looking at the screen.
If you have a divergent squint (so eye pointing outwards), wearing glasses for near can occasionally make it worse, you need to go and have another eye exam.

Either way, you need to go to occupational health and be it sorted.

Asmoto Wed 12-Apr-17 22:41:14

Have you sought an optician's advice? I second the advice to approach OH but recommend you arm yourself with an expert's opinion if at all possible to avoid being fobbed off.

An optician might also be able to suggest adjustments that can help. At the very least, it sounds as though you need regular screen breaks.

underneaththeash Thu 13-Apr-17 08:54:32

Oh and I forgot to mention, if you use a screen at work regularly, you're entitled to have eye exams paid for by your company.

sadie9 Thu 13-Apr-17 12:59:02

I just found when I began to wear reading glasses in my 40's it very quickly went from needing them occasionally to always needing them.
I think part of it is you just will eventually and fairly soon need the glasses for everything you read, regardless of the quality of the light.
With age related reading difficulties, your eyes are not damaged by wearing the glasses, and you can't stop it happening by not wearing your glasses.
Your ability to read up close will deteriorate to a certain level then remain at that level...where you need glasses to read/do close work.

Middleoftheroad Wed 19-Apr-17 09:52:47

Thanks all - sorry for the late response. I didn't think I was getting any and was thrilled to see some today!
I think I will go to the optician to get a professionsl opinion (hopefully written down). When I saw the Specsavers one she just kind of nodded and agreed when I went on about the light.
There is no OH departmwnt and my boss is HR manager (I don't work in HR) and they currently don't reimburse colleagues for eye tests and I have heard them worrying about costs if employees do start asking (I work for a partnership of schools with small central team/systems and even smaller budget, it's not like any of the other organisations I've worked at in terms of OH structure free eye tests etc). So any moan would be hard as my boss is essentially HR!

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