Eyes, vision workplace and Mr Swaminathan!

To understand the importance of eyes and vision at the workplace, read the following short story:

This is the story of one Mr Swaminathan, a once happy- go- lucky person, who was unhappy despite being in an excellent position in an IT company of great repute. He earned a fat salary that helped him support his great family, put his children in a good college, and live a debt-free wonderful life.

But lately, he was very unhappy and restless and wanted to quit his job. He expressed this decision to his wife and others in the family, who were taken aback, wondering what happened to this man. After listening to why he wanted to quit his job, his family members started giving a lot of suggestions, but nothing helped Swaminathan.

He was fully convinced that no one could help him or persuade him to change his decision. However, finally Swaminathan agreed to talk to his uncle, Ram, an older man who was based in Chennai!

“Good morning, Uncle Ram. Hope you are doing fine and hope that all at home are doing well! “, Swaminathan spoke.

“Yes, we are all fine and pleasantly surprised by your call in the early hours. Hope everything is fine with you”, Uncle Ram spoke with a lot of concern.

With a slight hesitation, Swaminathan started expressing, “Uncle, I have decided to quit my job. Though I have another ten years of work left in the same office, I have to take this difficult decision.”


Figure 1: The tired, angry and frustrated Mr Swaminathan!

With the utmost sense of empathy, Uncle Ram spoke, “Swaminathan, it looks that you are leaving the job because you are unhappy with something at your workplace. Can you share the reason? I will see whether I can help you out of this difficult decision.”

“Yes, Uncle. I have to quit because of my eyes and head. I feel unproductive at my workplace. I am unable to work continuously for more than 30 minutes. I develop severe eyestrain, neck pain, and headache after working for a while on the computer. I consulted various specialists, underwent many tests and scans, and procured different eyeglasses, but nothing has helped me so far.

I feel bad that I am not contributing much to the company in recent days. Therefore, I have decided to select a job which does not require any computer-related work.” Swaminathan said, pouring his heart out to his uncle.

“Yes, I understand, Swaminathan and I can also understand what you are going through. Can you give me one chance to help you? If you agree, I would like you to make a short visit to Chennai and introduce you to one of my friends. He is involved in a unique speciality called occupational optometry, which could help you resolve your problem” Uncle Ram said sounding promising.

Swaminathan agreed and told his uncle that he would travel the next week to meet the occupational optometrist. During their meeting, the optometrist asked a few key questions related to Swaminathan’s job.

It came to light that Swaminathan used to work for more than 10 hours every day in front of the computer, but in the recent past, he was unable to do so as he developed eyestrain, headache, and neck pain within 30 minutes of computer use! After doing a detailed eye examination, the optometrist made Swaminathan sit in front of the simulated computer workstation. The optometrist made his observation. With the detailed clinical report, he discussed the solutions for getting rid of the symptoms associated with working with computers.


Figure 2: Occupational optometry can change the way you ‘look’ at work

Today, Swaminathan, after five years, is still with the same company working for hours together in front of the computer and is a pleased man. His visit to the occupational optometrist and his suggestions have made him a happy man today.

Yes, occupational optometry is a valuable service. His meeting with the right occupational eye care expert helped him get rid of all his symptoms.

Who is an occupational optometrist?

Occupational optometrists can help you by understanding the visual demands of your leisure and professional life. They advise you with appropriate vision care tips and spectacle design after a careful analysis of your visual demands and visual ability.

The next time when you go for your eye examination, share details about your occupation with your eye care practitioner. He would offer you the best eye care or refer you to the concerned occupational optometrist.

If you are an employer, ensure all the workers get their eyes examined. This will help them to match their visual demand at work to their visual ability. To understand the working conditions of your employees, the occupational optometrist will go around your work area, make observations about visually demanding and hazardous areas at work, identify good versus reduced lighting at work, followed by a detailed understanding of the work environment. This step will help the expert plan the comprehensive eye examination relevant to the workers’ occupation. At the end of the investigation, the expert will help match the visual demand at work and the individual’s visual ability to ensure smooth and symptom-less functioning of the workers. The expert also counsels the workers on the importance of using safety eyewear and tips on vision and eye care

The expert also gives inputs on the amount of lighting needed to do different tasks based on the standard lighting codes for comfort.

The importance of eye care in the workplace has been highlighted in a study conducted in India wherein a simple spectacle correction helped improve workers’ productivity by 32 %.

Studies have also shown decreased ocular injury cases amongst farmers after wearing appropriate safety eyewear at work. Hence it necessary to seek eye care services with occupational optometrists for enhanced productivity and safety at work.

Prepared by Dr R. Krishna Kumar, Freelance optometrist & Educationalist, Chennai – 27-01-2021

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