Your Vision and Your Job

Your Vision…Your Job Depends On It!
When you think about the skills and tools you need to do your job, what do you think of? If you work in manufacturing, you operate complicated, high-tech machinery and use years of experience to produce high-quality products. If you’re a secretary or receptionist, you probably type, answer the phone, and use a computer of some type. If you work in construction, you may prepare cost estimates, sometimes with your computer, read blueprints and use surveying equipment, hammers and nails.

But would you be able to do any of these tasks well without the most important tools of all – your eyes and good vision? Probably not.

Your eyes and good vision can be the most important tools in your job and all the other daily activities of your life. But do you, like many people, take them for granted?

Are you visually impaired?
Have you noticed more mistakes in your work lately? As the day progresses, do you get more and more fatigued? Are you having problems with performing new tasks? Do you find your performance isn’t as good as you’d like it to be? Do you have frequent eye strain or headaches?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you probably need a thorough vision examination. Often mistakes, fatigue and difficulty with new tasks, are a result of a vision deficiency. And, vision deficiency doesn’t just show up at the workplace. It shows up everywhere: in the kitchen, in the garden, or on the playing field.

Few people consider their eyes and their vision when performance is below their expectations. That’s why it is so important to seek professional optometric care on a regular basis. Also keep your doctor of optometry informed when you take on new tasks, or notice any changes in vision or the way you feel at the end of a day.

When you visit your optometrist…
Be sure to tell the doctor of any problems or symptoms that you have been experiencing. During your thorough examination, an optometrist will check a variety of different factors. The doctor will test for visual acuity, or the ability to see objects clearly at a prescribed distance; nearsightedness; and how your eyes work together as a team; as well as for eye disease and general health problems, just to name a few. Correcting these conditions may improve your productivity, reduce errors and, of course, increase comfort on the job.

New tasks mean new vision needs
If you have new job tasks, or responsibilities, your old glasses may not be what you need; especially if you are over age 40, because of a natural loss of focusing ability of the eye called presbyopia. Check with your optometrist and let him or her know of any changes in your work routine. You might need two different prescriptions: one for your regular vision needs, and another for specific job-related tasks such as close inspections of products coming off the assembly line, for long hours spent looking into a VDT screen, or for reading a chart or dial above eye level.

In a thorough exam, your doctor of optometry might determine that your prescription for your new tasks is fine. But you might benefit from a simple “extra” such as a lens tint for outdoor work, an anti-reflection coating, or safety lenses for added eye protection or perhaps contact lenses.

Work environment affects efficiency, too!
Your optometrist will want to know about your working conditions, your posture on the assembly line or at the computer terminal, the distance from your eyes to your work, and if you do have proper lighting. These, too, can affect your efficiency on the job.

Do you supervise a visually-deficient person?
Does your job description include supervising others’ work? If so, do you know how to spot a person having visual difficulties? Things to look for include: an increase in mistakes, difficulty learning new tasks, frequent absenteeism, complaints of headaches, neck aches and fatigue.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, suggest a thorough vision examination to the employee. The problem may be nothing more than the need for a new prescription.

A word on eye safety
Eye and vision hazards are as numerous as the jobs which surround them. If you work in a potentially hazardous environment, you should take the necessary precautions of wearing protective eyewear to ensure your safety as well as your efficiency. The type of safety eyewear needed should be determined after you and your optometrist have discussed your work tasks and your eyewear options. But here are just some of the products available for safety purposes:

  • Safety lenses made of glass, plastic or polycarbonate at least 3mm thick provide frontal protection against flying objects. Frames are designed to withstand heavy impact.
  • Goggles which can be worn alone or over prescription glasses for protection against flying particles, dust or liquid splashes.
  • Face shields, which can be worn over regular or safety glasses, can protect your eyes and face from flying particles, sparks and splashes.
  • Welding helmets, with special filter lenses for protection against welding rays, sparks and flying objects. Your doctor of optometry can assist you in choosing a filter appropriate for the jobs that you do.

Your eyes and good vision mean efficiency
No matter where you work.., in an office, in a factory, on a construction site and even at home, good vision will make your work more productive, more comfortable, and more enjoyable. Even if you don’t detect any changes in your vision… your job depends on it.