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Prolonged screen use could injure the eyes of office workers

When people in New Jersey think about on-the-job hazards to eyes, they might imagine the risks faced by welders, construction workers or people who handle caustic chemicals. Although such occupations create risky conditions that result in thousands of eye injuries every year, people working on computers could experience eye injuries as well.

Blue light produced by LED backlight screens on phones, computer monitors, televisions and tablets has the potential to cause digital eyestrain syndrome and eventually retinal damage and blindness. The retina is highly sensitive to the high energy visible blue light emitted by screens. Many office workers spend over 60% of their time looking at screens.

To mitigate risks, employers should make workers aware of the hazards and initiate protective measures. The installation of antiglare screens could reduce strain, and workers should know to keep their screens at right angles and away from direct sources of light. Taking breaks every 20 minutes to look away from screens also interrupts harmful exposure. Annual visits to an eye doctor could alert people to damage before it becomes a serious problem.

Occupational injuries that develop slowly because of working conditions could qualify for workers' compensation benefits. A person afflicted with eyestrain, repetitive motion injuries or sickness induced by chemical exposure might encounter difficulty convincing an employer that the workplace was the source of injury. The representation of an attorney may support a person in this position. An attorney might arrange for an appointment with a physician not of the employer's choosing to gain an independent diagnosis. Other legal services could include preparing insurance paperwork or appealing of a denial of benefits. If the employer or insurer persist in withholding benefits, an attorney may file a lawsuit to pursue a settlement for medical expenses and lost pay.

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