Lighting ergonomics plays a key role when completing tasks in the workplace. Appropriate lighting can reduce eye fatigue and headaches, which makes completing tasks easier. In particular, good lighting ergonomics can prevent computer vision syndrome (CVS), which is a type of eye strain that occurs when you use a computer for a long period of time.
CVS symptoms include:
- Blurred and double vision
- Eye irritation (e.g., dry and red eyes)
- Back and neck pain
The quality of lighting in your workplace can significantly impact your productivity. Notably, the type of lighting you need is based on the type of work you are doing and the location of your computer—every worker requires a unique amount of light. As such, it’s important to design your workstation to fit your individual needs, accounting for the following common lighting issues.
Bright lights shining around your screen can make it difficult to read or see the work you are doing. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety recommends the following to help protect your eyes and improve your work conditions:
- Turn off some of the fluorescent bulbs above your work area, or have them removed.
- Use task lighting to illuminate writing and reading tasks as well as limit brightness around your monitor.
- Use glare guards to reduce or eliminate glare on your screen.
Excessive Background Lighting
Excessive background lighting can create contrast on your screen, which can strain your eyes. Possible solutions include:
- Moving your computer so that sources of light are at right angles to your computer screen
- Using blinds or drapes on the windows to eliminate light
Reflected light from the overhead lights or other surfaces, such as keyboards or walls, can create a glare and affect your ability to see your screen. Possible solutions for reflected light include:
- Tilting your monitor down to prevent the reflected light from hitting your computer
- Selecting a matte-finished keyboard
Talk to your supervisor if you have concerns about lighting at work.