Dry Eyes: The Link between Low Humidity and Low Productivity

It’s hard to tear yourself away from the office computer when there are deadlines you need to meet before clocking out. Taking desk lunches and working overtime can take its toll on your mental, emotional, and physical health, however.

One of the most common health issues office workers faces is dry eye syndrome. Staring at your computer screen for an extended period strains your eyes. As a result, the natural fluids and mucus in your eyes to dry up. It is far from being the only cause of eyestrain and dry eyes syndrome, though. In these instances, it is likely that your workplace’s humidity level is causing your discomfort.

Dry Eyes in the Workplace

Climate control technology and air-conditioned environments are contributing factors to dry eye syndrome. Because while an air conditioner’s main job is to keep a room cool, it also acts as a dehumidifier. This reduces the chances of mold and mildew growth. On the other hand, it also increases the evaporation rate of your eyes’ natural moisture and mucus.

Excessive dehumidifying can be a big problem in offices. In improperly ventilated environments where you might not have control over the thermostat, the air conditioner may pull too much moisture from the air. So, make sure that you keep your ventilation in good shape.

How can you do this? One way is to clean your AC and heating units regularly. Total Air Inc. notes that neglected air conditioning and heating units build up dust and dirt in its filter, which hinders air from flowing.

Better Environments for Better Productivity

Company doctor examining employee's eyes

Dry eye syndrome, like other workplace-related health issues, ultimately affects employee performance. It can result in negligible absenteeism along with a host of other workplace concerns.

A study found that dry eyes can impair workplace performance and work productivity by about 30 percent. A separate study shows that office workers with dry eye syndrome had 4.82 percent total workplace productivity loss. Meanwhile, employees without dry eyes had a lower productivity loss of 3.56 percent.

If you can’t adjust your office’s thermostat, consider bringing in a humidifier or vaporizer. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated and to take regular breaks, too. Spending time outside or closing your eyes for a while can help it build up its natural fluids.

Other Health Issues Due to Excessive Dehumidifying

Extremely dry indoor air leads to other health issues like dehydration. Your body releases moisture faster when your environment is dry and humid. You’ll need to drink more water than usual. Failure to do so can cause headaches and other symptoms of dehydration, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Weak muscles or muscle cramps
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever

Moreover, excessive dehumidifying can cause flare-ups of eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. Make sure to have a moisturizer or lotion on hand to ease the discomfort of cracked and drying skin. Properly adjusting the settings of your office’s air conditioning unit and thermostat is still the best course of action to avoid unnecessary discomfort, health conditions, and unproductive hours.

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