Living in a Visual Culture and How It’s Not So Easy on the Eyes

By February 1, 2018Computer Vision

Read This if You Look at a Screen of Any Kind for More Than 2 Hours Daily


How many of you have a job that could be classified as visual? This might mean that you depend on your eyes for a large portion of the work day; maybe you look at a screen all day, or maybe you spend your business hours looking over documents. Either way, our work is 90% visual in most vocational settings, which places heavier and heavier demand and stress on… you guessed it, your eyes.

Working with computers, working in graphic design, hammering out spreadsheets, making presentations on tablets, running a business from your cell phone — all of these activities are primarily visual.

The United States is becoming less and less a physical or manual labor country. We no longer engage in manufacturing, farming or building with our hands and bodies on the same scale as in the past. More and more of our jobs are based on visual labor rather than physical labor. We are now focused on computers, microtasks, visual analysis, viewership, design, research and other highly demanding activities that can potentially increase wear and tear, even damage our eyes.

Are Your Eyes Getting the Care They Need, and Deserve?

Little is being done to help office workers keep their eyes healthy and rested even though it’s how they do most of their work. People go to the gym to exercise their bodies and muscles, and people who do manual labor are required to take physical rest breaks, but few people do eye exercises that benefit your eyes, or take visual rest breaks. In fact, many people use their cell phones to text, watch videos and jump on social media during their breaks, instead of resting their eyes, after having spent most of the day working with their eyes.

The eye muscles are the most active muscles in the body. They are hard at work scanning across thousands and thousands of words every hour. Surprisingly, employers are neglecting the wellbeing of eyes of their Visual Workforce. This is short sighted (pun intended) because healthy eyes, clear vision, and appropriate tracking and eye teaming skills help employees be more comfortable, happy and productive. Health insurance plans often do not include vision insurance even though the majority of your work involves visual tasks. That means it’s up to you to take care of your own eyes.

Very few people consider the ergonomics of their office from a visual perspective. Workstations need to take visual needs into account such as:

  • The angle that workers are most comfortable viewing screens
  • Ambient and backlighting
  • Screen resolution and refresh rate

Protection from harmful blue light that is emitted from computer screens, cell phones, tablets, digital TVs and fluorescent lights. Blue light can cause more damage to the eyes than the sun
The humidity of the office also needs to be considered since heavy computer use often leads to dry eyes because we don’t blink as much when we stare at the computer screen

What is a “Visual Culture”?


Do you have friends who only express themselves in memes and gifs? That’s part and parcel of our culture relying more on our eyesight than any other sense. Vision is how we stay connected to the world, and each other.

Examples of visually demanding jobs include:

  • Designers (Web, Fashion, Video Game, Etc.)
  • Animators
  • Film and video Editors
  • Copywriters
  • Editorial Staff (Both Print and Digital)
  • Accountants
  • Law Professionals
  • Administrative Professionals
  • Security
  • Graphic design
  • Health professionals
  • Students
  • And Much, Much More

And the list keeps growing!

The number of multimedia artists and animators working in the field is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, due to increased demand for things like gaming, movies, TV, animation, and more. Also, not only does the work day trend towards digital devices, but recreational time as well. These include cell phones, social media, video games, chatting, video streaming, Youtube, TV, etc. That means it doesn’t look like our culture is going to shift away from this trend any time soon (or ever, for that matter).

Unchecked Stress on the Eyes Can Affect…

  • Visual Pursuits (Tracking Moving Objects)
  • Accommodation / Sustained Focus
  • Binocularity
  • Stereopsis (Perception of Depth)
  • Convergence (Tracking Towards and Away)
  • Plugged oily tear glands

This leads to:

  • Dry eyes
  • Eyes that are red, watering, burning, tired
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Poor concentration
  • Diminished productivity

The bottom line is when your eyes feel tired, you feel tired!

That’s why it’s so important to take care of your eyes. The Hollywood Vision Center provides Vision Therapy for eye strain, double vision, sports vision, computer vision syndrome, visual impairment due to head trauma or brain injury, visually-related learning problems, and more.

We also have a state of the art MoisturEyes Spa to treat dry eyes that result from staring at the computer or cell phone for hours each day.

If you’re experiencing even what you perceive to be slight eye strain, it’s important to act now to avoid serious problems down the road. We have a dedicated staff of visioneers who work with you to help you see clear, easy, and comfortable so that you can perform your best at work and play!

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