common eye problems at work - Smart Vision Labs

Undiagnosed Eye Problems Linked to Workplace Frustrations

Whether your company employs five, 50 or 500 people, chances are that some of them are not performing well or living up to expectations. If you speak with someone in your HR department, the scope of this problem in your company could be greater than you realize.

There are employees who are difficult to manage and train, who consistently get negative job reviews, who seem slow to learn, who cause customer complaints, who have a difficult time working with other people, who have poor safety records, who call in sick a lot, who arrive late to work, who complete work assignments late, who make mistakes, and who seem unhappy or poorly adjusted to their jobs.

Are some people just difficult? It could be. Or it could be that they are experiencing health problems – perhaps some that they are reluctant to talk about – that make it difficult for them to fulfill the requirements of their jobs. And it could be that undiagnosed or uncorrected eye problems are at the root of their workplace problems.

Workplace “Obstacles”

If you search online for articles about the causes of poor worker performance, you will find that some of the most common are heavy workloads, poor bosses, unclear expectations, and burdensome rules and regulations that workers must follow during their jobs. But you will also find that virtually every expert and author who writes about the causes of poor performance also mentions this one . . .

Obstacles that prevent the worker from doing his or her job effectively

Those obstacles are sometimes physical, such as poorly designed working areas or antiquated equipment. Obstacles can also be technical, such as outdated phone systems, and other equipment.  But many obstacles result not from external conditions, but from workers’ ability to meet the demands of their jobs. (Note that workers who are experiencing this problem are prone to self-censor; An employee in your shipping department who is no longer able to lift heavy objects could hesitate to mention that problem, for fear of losing his or her job.) And when employees’ vision is not good enough to allow them to perform their work comfortably and effectively, performance suffers and frustrations follow.

Frustrating, Work-Hindering Obstacles that Are Linked to Eye Problems

Poor, uncorrected vision makes it difficult, frustrating and headache-inducing for employees whose jobs require them to . . .

  • Absorb information from slides and other visuals during training sessions
  • Complete online research
  • Complete required reading
  • Fill in self-assessments and other forms that are used in performance reviews
  • Drive and operate equipment
  • Enter data, purchase orders, sales reports and other information into computer systems
  • Meet and greet customers confidently and provide effective customer service
  • Read, digest and utilize written instructions
  • Take notes in meetings, track work progress and follow up
  • Use company systems such as email programs and company Intranets
  • Write reports, memos and other work documents
  • Use a wide range of modern equipment that can include tablets, credit card charge processors, cash registers, and more

What Is the Solution?

Add regular, high-quality vision care to your company’s employee wellness program. Find out how easy it is to run a vision screening in your office by downloading the free white paper, The Benefits of Corporate On-site Vision Exams.

Wellness Vision Exams 

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Make sure your employees have the best eyesight to perform their jobs? - Smart Vision Labs

Do Your Employees Have the Best Eyesight to Perform their Jobs?

Chances are that your company hires employees with the computer, technical, experiential and other skills that they need to perform their jobs well. But do they possess excellent, corrected vision or the best eyesight that equips them to perform the tasks that are central to their jobs?

Most Jobs Today Require Excellent, Accurate Vision

The Occupational Vision Manual published by the American Optometric Association, states:

“. . . the occupational optometrist should assess and record information regarding each worker’s tasks. The survey must include the specific visual tasks entailed in the essential duties of each position. For example, tasks performed by a lathe operator may include alignment of the cutting tool with the metal or wood stock, observation of the cutting action when the machine is engaged, and setting instrument controls to ensure proper dimensions. A forklift operator may need to move safely throughout a warehouse with a load, to position the load accurately in three dimensions in front of the storage position, and, finally, to move the forklift forward to place the load safely in its precise intended location.”

Make sure your employees have the best eyesight to perform their jobs? - Smart Vision LabsWhat Visual Skills Do Your Employees Need to Do their Jobs?
Let’s look at some visual abilities that are required by some common jobs today – perhaps the same jobs that your employees are performing?

  • Drivers and delivery people need to be able to shift their visual focus between GPS devices (typically located two or more feet away from their eyes) and the road. They need to be able to read road signs, see pedestrians, and recognize potential dangers quickly.
  • Product assemblers need the visual acuity to focus closely and accurately on their work.
  • Computer operators and data entry workers need to be able to read computer screens and documents, and enter data into computer forms.
  • Retail salespeople must be able to read product specifications and documentation, enter orders on tablets or other order-processing equipment, and perform other tasks such as assembling displays and products per printed specifications.
  • Phone representatives and call center employees must be able to accurately negotiate and respond to on-screen menus and forms.
  • Healthcare workers perform many vision-intensive tasks, depending on the nature of their jobs. Medical assistants read documents and enter data into computers. In some cases, they need vision good enough to administer minor medical tests such as EKGs. Insurance billers and insurance coders must read long lists (some onscreen, others printed) of medical conditions and their procedure/condition codes. In dental offices, assistants need good vision to assist in procedures. In fact, good vision is required to perform all healthcare and medical jobs.
  • Security and safety personnel need excellent vision to recognize problems, monitor video surveillance equipment, and take appropriate steps to intervene when problems occur.
  • Restaurant and food service personnel use computer equipment (often in dark surroundings), fill orders correctly, prepare food safely, and follow strict protocols for cooking food safely, cleaning food preparation areas and performing other critical skills.

How can you add regular, high-quality vision care to your company’s employee wellness program? Find out how easy it is to run a vision screening in your office by downloading the free white paper, The Benefits of Corporate On-site Vision Exams.


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Six Ways Vision Problems Can Hurt Your Employees and their Performance

“6 Unexpected Ways Eye Problems Can Hurt You,” an article that Nancie George wrote for, reports that even modest problems in six critical vision areas can have surprisingly devastating effects on people who suffer from them.

And if the people who are suffering from them happen to be your employees, the result could be not only harm to them, but damage to your organization’s effectiveness, profitability, immunity from legal risk, and much more.

Here are the six critical problem areas that Ms. George writes about.

Risk of Death
Ms. George cites a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that people whose vision impedes their ability to perform routine tasks like using the phone or shopping have a 31% greater risk of dying within the next eight years than do people without those vision problems. A 31% greater risk of dying? That’s a startling statistic.

A Risk of Other Health Problems
Diabetes, hypertension, an impending stroke and other health problems are often identified during routine eye exams. Without exams, those serious – and costly – problems might be overlooked.

Ms. George points to the 2013 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which found that adults with vision loss are 90% more likely to be depressed . . . and that 10% of people who are living with vision loss experience major depression. The message is that simple vision tests can have a strong impact on your employees’ happiness and mental health. 

Several studies have determined that among older adults especially, vision problems are strongly linked to anxiety and a poorer quality of life. 

A Tendency to Experience Falls
A study in 2007 determined that individuals who have limited peripheral vision are more likely to experience falls. It’s a problem that is especially likely to occur as people age. Whether you employ an older workforce or not, it’s another compelling reason to include vision exams in your employee wellness program. 

Glaucoma and Car Accidents
According to a study conducted in 2012, people with undiagnosed glaucoma are twice as likely to have car accidents than other people do. And it is a condition that can be routinely diagnosed during low-cost vision exams and then treated. 

The Message?
Because simple eye exams can have big effects on employee wellness and productivity, they should be part of your employee wellness program.


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Corporate Vision Screening - Find out how you can have the Smart Vision Labs team run eye exams in your office

See the Benefits of Corporate Vision Screening

Having vision insurance and having regular vision exams is not the same thing. A recent study revealed that only 37.3% of employees with vision insurance actually used it during a 2-year period. While this may seem like a personal decision made by employees, consider the cost generated in the workplace by vision problems.

  • 60 hours of productivity are lost each year because of eye-focusing issues
  • $22 billion is lost annually in the United States from uncorrected vision
  • 79 percent of employees suffer from at least one daily vision disturbance at work

Even though vision-related problems can cause a deficit in businesses, there is a way for employers to address this situation and to better the eye health of those who work for them.

As every successful business owner or CEO understands: find out the objections your customers have concerning a product or service and give them assurance in those areas. Employees routinely provide two reasons for not scheduling regular vision exams:

  • They’re time-consuming
  • They are not convenient.

Ironically, many people find these appointments conflict with their work schedule and they need to either take time off or use their lunch hour.

Corporate Vision Screening are both convenient and time-effective for employees. The added benefit is having a workforce that can be more productive because of a decrease in vision-related disturbances like eye strain and resulting headaches.

These wellness clinics are easy to set up and are looked upon very favorably by employees. Besides the convenience of having vision exams in the workplace, most people appreciate the supportive environment of a company that cares for them.

Key Points of a Corporate Vision Screening

  • All you need is a conference room at least 10 feet in length and a table for signing in.
  • Employees can schedule a time through an online portal.
  • The vision exam takes less than 10 minutes.
  • If a prescription is needed for corrective lenses or contacts, it’s emailed to the employee the same day.

Key Benefits of a Corporate Vision Screening

  • Gives employees a convenient way to have a vision exam.
  • Provides education about eye health
  • Can address vision-related problems by generating a prescription for corrective lenses
  • Smart Vision Labs partners with companies who sell frames to offer discounted rates to those who attend the vision screening.
  • Discusses preventative methods of minimizing eye strain and the possible resulting headaches.

Both employers and employees have praised corporate vision screenings. On the employer side, it’s a way to promote eye health within the company. The statistics from recent screenings have revealed that about one-fourth of the participants had a visual acuity of 20/40 or worse and over one-half of that group had never received a prescription for corrective lenses. With the increasing use of computers and digital devices in the workplace, maintaining eye health is mandatory to properly use this technology. Vision issues, like dry eye, fatigue, or headaches from eye strain, can be significantly minimized or even eliminated.

On the employee side, almost every participant left the screening more knowledgeable about how to maintain eye health. Additionally, vision exams can help uncover refractive errors and address them. Overall, this contributes to, not only productivity in the work place, but to the employee’s positive view of the company as well.

Corporate Vision Screenings are a win-win for every company and business; it’s a convenient and accurate way put stock in your employees’ health while everyone reaps the benefits.

Learn how you can offer Smart Vision Exams at your company.

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Preventing Eyestrain - Smart Vision Labs

Stopping and Preventing Eyestrain

If you feel a headache coming on at work, it might be from eyestrain, not that spreadsheet.

Perhaps you know the feeling of trying to rub the sleep from your eyes during a long work or study session. Your eyelids are heavy and your shoulders feel stiff but you have couple hours of work waiting to be done. Your head aches just thinking about it. But before you reach for another cup of coffee, see if you’re feeling the effects of eyestrain instead.

What It Feels Like

Eyestrain can cause a few different symptoms in the eyes. Your eyes may be watery or dry. They could feel itchy or tired. Some even notice blurry or double vision.

It can even cause symptoms in places other than your eyes. Headaches, sore shoulders, and neck pain are all additional signs that you’re experiencing eyestrain.

How It Happens

Eyestrain happens when the eyes are overworked or are subjected to poor conditions. This can occur if you spend a long time focusing on a single activity without breaks, like using a computer, reading a book, or driving long distances. Bad conditions which can contribute to eyestrain are things like lighting that is too dim or too bright, dryness from being near an air-conditioning or heating vent, or poor posture.

How to Fix It

The good thing is that eyestrain isn’t permanent at all. It goes away soon after you stop doing whatever it is that is hurting your eyes. Even better, not only is it easy to fix, it is easy to prevent. There are some simple steps you can take right away to help you get relief.

Blinking more is something you can do at any time in any situation. When people focus on a single task, they tend to blink far less. This dries their eyes out and irritates them. Every 20 minutes or so, try to make a several full, closed-eye blinks. If you’re using a computer or reading, you can also use these quick breaks to walk around and allow your eyes to focus on things farther away.

Computer Use

On a computer, your screen shouldn’t be more bright or more dim than the room you are using it in. Try to avoid overhead lighting as this causes glare which isn’t good for your eyes. If that isn’t possible, glasses with anti-reflective coating or a matte computer screen are other ways to reduce glare.


To stop eyestrain while reading, make sure the pages are lit well enough. Your light source, whether it is a lamp in your bedroom or the sun at the beach, should be behind you and on the page. This allows your reading material to have as much contrast between the dark print and light pages as possible, making it easy for your eyes to scan the words.


Steps to prevent eyestrain while driving happen before you get behind the wheel. Keeping the windshield and lights of your vehicle clean will give you the best visibility, regardless of the amount of sunlight or weather conditions. If you have prescription glasses, always drive with them on. You may find that a pair of glasses with anti-reflective coating helps reduce glare from the lights of other vehicles. If you are taking a very long road trip over many hours, it is safest to take rest stops to allow both your eyes and body a break.

How is Your Vision?

If you’re still experiencing eyestrain after taking some measures to stop it, you may be due for a vision exam. Using an old pair of glasses or not having prescription lenses at all (if you need them) can cause eyestrain as well. You don’t want your vision to cause you a headache.

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Preventing Computer Eye Strain - Smart Vision Labs

Preventing Computer Eye Strain

Many people notice their eyes seem tired after using a computer for a while. But it isn’t their work making their eyes want to shut.

These people are feeling the effects of computer vision syndrome (CVS). Sometimes it is also called digital eye strain. It happens when people focus their eyes on a screen for a long period of time without breaks. Despite the name, it can be caused by staring at any screen for too long at once, so your tablet and phone are just as likely to cause it as your laptop.

CVS may show up as dry eyes or blurred vision. Headaches can occur from the eye strain. Although it is primarily an eye problem, it can also be the cause of neck and shoulder pains. The symptoms generally stop when the person takes a break from using the computer.

This issue is being seen more often due to more people working in offices or staying in school longer to get advanced degrees. Because these people rely on computer work to succeed in school or their job, just turning the screen off isn’t a good solution for them.

Thankfully, there are many simple things you can do to keep your eyes rested without limiting your computer use.


The dryness from digital eye strain occurs because people using a computer can literally stare at the screen without blinking. While using an electronic device, people tend to blink less and without fully closing their lids. This prolonged exposure to air is what causes the eyes to dry out. Simply making a conscious effort to blink will re-lubricate your eyes. Making about 10 full, closed-eye blinks every 20 minutes or so will allow your eyes to regain their natural wetness. If this particular area is an issue, lubricating eyedrops, or artificial tears, can provide some extra comfort.


After you do this, you can also use the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain. This rule says every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. (If you’re a procrastinator, you probably already do this unintentionally to avoid working or studying.) This gives your eyes a chance to rest by not having them stare at an object that is in a static position. Even better, take a quick walk on these breaks. This has the added benefit of treating shoulder and neck pains which may show up along with the dry eyes.

Brightness Settings

Adjusting the brightness of the screen you’re using can help lessen the amount of time it takes to feel the effects of computer eye strain. Your device’s screen shouldn’t act as a light source. The perfect brightness should be similar to the lighting of the room you are in. On the other side, your screen shouldn’t be too dark either. If your screen seems dim or you are straining to read text, it’s time to turn the brightness up a bit. The additional brightness also adds contrast, which makes text easier to read.

Screen Glare

Speaking of room lighting, adjusting interior lighting will reduce screen glare which, in turn, makes your screen easier to read. Floor or desk lamps with low-intensity bulbs, one on each side of your workstation, are the ideal placement for lighting the room you do computer work in. This allows your workspace to be evenly lit without causing screen glare as overhead or fluorescent lights do.

So the next time you feel tired at work, maybe it is just your eyes which need a rest.

Straining to see clearly and think you might need glasses? Get your eyes checked today.

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Eye Health and protecting your eyes - Smart Vision Labs

Eye Health Begins with You

We may not be able to control everything, but we can control some things. Maintaining eye health is one of them. Here are a few quick tips to keeping your vision the best it can be.

Watch What You Eat

That’s right; overall health is based in large part on your diet. Eating fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, can provide the eyes with the type of nutrition they need. Also fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, can supply the body with essential omega-3 fatty acids.
When you’re in a restaurant or supermarket, look around for these foods and add them to your diet.

Watch Your Weight

Stepping on a scale may not be your most favorite thing to do but your eyes will thank you for watching your weight. Being overweight increases your chances of developing diabetes which can lead to certain vision problems, like blindness. Monitoring your weight and keeping it within healthy guidelines is a positive way to maintain eye health by removing a negative factor from your life.

Watch Out for Bad Habits

Smoking is a bad habit and if you light up, it’s time to put out that cigarette.  Research has shown that smokers increase their risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage. All of these conditions can lead to blindness. Smoking is just not worth the risk to your eyes.

Watch Out for Too Much Sun

Sunglasses will not only make you look cool, they will help block out damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun. Extended exposure to these UV rays has the potential of contributing to macular degeneration and cataracts. An especially painful condition, photokeratitis, is sometimes described as sunburn to the cornea. This happens when the eyes were not protected from the sun for a period of time. Symptoms include tears, pain, and a gritty feeling in the eyes.

Watch Out for Danger

If you don’t have a pair of safety glasses yet, please get them. You don’t need to be on a construction site to get an eye injury. Most accidents happen at home doing activities like yard work or simple house maintenance. Protecting your eyes with safety goggles or an eye shield stops a problem from even starting.

Watch the Time

Your eyes need to rest now and then, so monitoring certain activities is recommended. If you spend a good portion of each day on the computer, your eyes may get tired. When you are focusing on a computer monitor for a long period, you may actually be forgetting to blink which does not promote eye health. Try the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes spent at the computer, look away about 20 feet for about 20 seconds. This may help you avoid eyestrain and will definitely make you more aware of your eyes’ health.

Watch the Calendar

Having periodic vision exams can spot any problems you may be having. Diagnosing eye conditions or correcting vision errors with prescription glasses are ways to maintain eye health in a proactive way.

Put the “you” in eye health and put these tips to use.

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Smart Vision Labs Surveys Corporate Employees on the Shortcomings of Vision Care in the Workplace

Study uncovers significant deficiencies impacting workplace productivity, pointing to on-site vision exams and telemedicine as possible solutions to the shortcomings of vision care in the workplace

New York, NY ­–­ September 28, 2016 –­­ Smart Vision Labs (, creators of mobile vision testing devices and the 5-minute Smart Vision Exam, today released a report on the shortcomings of vision care in the workplace and how telemedicine can conveniently assist employees with vision issues on-site. In Smart Vision Labs’ Benefits of Onsite Corporate Screenings report, companies gain insight into vision care trends among employees, how vision impairments affect workplace productivity and if telemedicine solutions, like on-site vision examinations, can impact employee wellness.

From 2015-2016, Smart Vision Labs conducted on-site vision exams in corporations, schools and wellness fairs and surveyed over 1,700 employees. Smart Vision Labs discovered that among the participants over the age 16, a quarter of them didn’t know they had a vision issue or needed updated corrective lenses — or would otherwise fail a DMV test. Not surprisingly, of the 72% of patients who had vision insurance, 63% have not had an eye exam in over three years.

The top reasons why employees hadn’t utilized their vision insurance were due to time constraints, unfamiliarity with vision tests or lack of education on the importance of eye health evaluations.

“In the workplace, employers are beginning to see the direct relationship between health and productivity. Vision insurance offerings are not enough, as most are not utilizing their benefits,” said Yaopeng Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Smart Vision Labs. “Our findings point to the obvious need for addressing vision problems in the workplace and we hope to see more employers take a proactive approach to ensuring that every employee has access to proper eyewear, smart refractive technologies and regular vision screenings.”

Smart Vision Labs’ findings echo a report from Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), which noted increased computer usage and time spent on screens contribute to nearly 80% of employees who experience visual disturbances. Additionally, a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Optometry noted that there is a direct correlation between proper vision correction and the required time for workers to perform tasks, especially with computers.

Furthermore, Smart Vision Labs’ survey provides valuable insights on how companies can encourage better eye health among employees, such as incorporating wellness and telemedicine perks into benefit schemes and implementing preventative measures that address vision-related issues before it becomes a significant problem.

“All of the feedback we received was positive and many employees were appreciative of the convenience of being able to receive an eye exam in the office,” said Adam Jiang, Compensation & Benefits Manager at Compass. “The survey results we received showed that over half of the staff that participated had not received a vision exam in the prior 2 years.”

To download a free copy of Smart Vision Labs’ Benefits of Onsite Corporate Screenings report, please visit:

To learn more about Smart Vision Labs or how to bring vision testing to your company, please email

About Smart Vision Labs

Smart Vision Labs is transforming vision care through innovative technologies. A leader in wavefront refraction systems, Smart Vision Labs leverages telemedicine to provide access to eyeglass prescriptions anywhere, anytime. More than 500 doctors across 23 countries are using Smart Vision Labs’ mobile autorefractor, and with the help of global optical partners, the company has performed over 40,000 to date. For more information, please visit:

This fall, Smart Vision Labs will be conducting vision screening in NYC schools delivering on the mission to provide improved vision to as many people as possible.

If you are interested in providing the Smart Vision Exam technology in your store contact


How Many Workers Miss Work Due to Eyestrain on the Job?

The Vision Council’s 2016 report, “Eyes Overexposed: The Digital Device Dilemma,” reports some troubling statistics about the eye strain that American workers are experiencing on the job. The report, based on a survey of more than 10,000 adults, reports that due to overuse of digital devices, 65% of American workers experience symptoms of eye strain that include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye fatigue
  • Neck and back pain

How the Vision Council Defines Digital Eye Strain

The report states that digital eye strain is discomfort that is felt after two or more hours of using laptop or desktop computers, tablets, smartphones and e-readers. Different factors can affect the severity of the strain, including the proximity of the user to the screen and the amount of high energy visible light emitted by the screens that are being used.

But one thing is clear. People who use any of those devices for extended periods of time daily are at risk. And who uses electronic devices for long periods? Students do, and so do people at work.

How Many People Miss Work Due to Headaches?

We have not been able to find statistics about how many people miss workdays and hours due to all kinds of headaches. But here are some figures that apply to migraine headaches . . .

  • According to, 157 million work hours are missed by American workers every year due to migraine headaches alone.
  • According to the World Health Organization, 25 million work days or school days are missed in the United Kingdom every year due to migraines.

Those statistics, for migraines alone, show that businesses are losing a lot of money to eye strain. They are also failing to address a condition that affects workers’ overall health and job satisfaction.

What Is the Solution to Eyestrain on the Job?

A number of strategies can reduce eyestrain on the job, including . . .

  • Taking frequent breaks from using electronic devices
  • Reviewing and improving office lighting
  • Moving digital devices so they are not placed in front of bright windows
  • Teaching employees to adopt better posture and maintain an appropriate distance from screens
  • Adjusting screen brightness to a level that is high enough to promote easy viewing, but not so bright as to cause eye strain
  • Providing employees with healthcare plans that include vision exams, or giving those exams on the job as part of an employee wellness program

Provide Economical On-Site Vision Exams

If you would like to improve the comfort and well-being of your employees – and lower absenteeism too – contact Smart Vision Labs team and ask how you can offer your employees vision tests and 5-minute eyeglasses prescriptions at your location.

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