New UAB Eye Care clinic helps improve vision in the workplace

An optometrist’s vision wellness tips and services can help keep your eyes in good shape.
graphic showing suggestions for reducing eyestrain

To help combat the adverse effects that constant computer usage has on a person’s overall eyesight and vision, the University of Alabama School of Optometry has launched a new specialty clinic. The Vision in the Environment and Workplace Clinic, located in UAB Eye Care, can help those who work in front of a computer with vision wellness, ergonomics and overall eye safety.

graphic showing suggestions for reducing eyestrain

For many Americans, their job requires them to sit at a desk and stare at a computer most of the day during the traditional five-day workweek. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found one in four U.S. adults sits for more than eight hours a day. The sedentary workplace takes a toll not only on a person’s overall body, but specifically on their eyesight and vision health.

“What we’re hoping to achieve through the ViEW Clinic is to work directly with a person to assess their workspace and vision needs and identify ways that we can improve their visual experience,” said Bob Kleinstein, O.D., professor in the UAB School of Optometry and optometrist with UAB Eye Care.

“By assessing that person’s specific computer vision tasks, vision needs and lighting, we can design a unique ophthalmic treatment that helps the person more comfortably complete their tasks. That, in turn, helps them do their job to the best of their abilities.”

The ViEW Clinic’s on-site services are available on the UAB campus to employees of all professional backgrounds, including administrators, professors, physicians, nurses and more. The clinic provides several services. One is specialty testing to assess and maximize vision effectiveness and reduce eyestrain when completing tasks on a computer or other tech-based equipment relative to their position. Another is determining the necessary modifications of a person’s immediate work environment and recommendations on how to utilize computers and laboratory equipment more effectively and ergonomically. 

However, Kleinstein explains that the ViEW Clinic’s services can be translated to the average desk dweller who experiences any of the following:

  • Struggling to see computer monitor at certain distances
  • Neck and/or eyes aches at the end of the day
  • Experiencing other vision-related difficulties at work 

“A common thread is that all people need to see better to work better, which is a huge area of emphasis for our team,” Kleinstein said. “For example, most of the people we see who are serious desktop computer users appear to have adequate ergonomics and lighting, but their problem is that their vision and glasses are not designed for their work. As a result, their work suffers and they experience side effects like eye or neck pain, which makes it all the more difficult to perform tasks effectively.”

Kleinstein suggests that incorporating the following five tips can help alleviate eye pain. However, should symptoms persist, Kleinstein recommends seeking advice from an optometrist or vision specialist:

  • Straighten up: Adjust your chair so that your legs are at a right angle with your knees and arms near your sides. Your shoulders and neck should be relaxed, with your back supported and wrists slightly pointed down.
  • Face forward: Have your computer screen and keyword directly in front of your face, not off to the side. For double screen users, do not use the side screen as your primary screen of choice.
  • Eyes ahead: Keep your computer screen positioned at your focal length so you can focus easily. This may include raising your computer on a platform to ensure that you are not constantly looking downward or upward, but rather straight forward.
  • Organize your space: Arrange the documents in your vicinity around your computer so you can see them easily, rather than having to bend or twist to read or focus.
  • Take a break: It is key to take pauses and breaks every 20 to 30 minutes and refocus your eyes to refresh your vision. It is also a good time to stretch your legs and take a quick lap around the workspace.

If you are a UAB employee interested in ViEW Clinic services, email If you are a patient or are interested in learning more about vision wellness services, visit