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How to Protect Your Vision as a Freelancer

Learn tips for protecting your eyes and vision as a freelancer — and why you need to.
A young woman leaning over her desk working on something, how to protect your vision as a freelancer

As a freelancer, it’s important that you have health insurance to protect your business’ most important asset: yourself!

In addition to basic health insurance, supplemental insurance plans like dental and accident insurance can provide important protection for freelancers—both for your health and your wallet.

Organizations like Freelancers Union help solopreneurs save on dental insurance, plus other benefits too.

But one type of insurance you may not have thought about is vision insurance.

You only get one pair of eyes. And more than likely, your business relies on clear vision — from looking at online sales in the morning to wrapping up your last email of the day.

Let’s look at some of the risks of unhealthy vision for freelancers and what you can do to protect yourself.

Vision Health Risks to Freelancers

Of the 25 most in-demand freelance skills, do you know how many require using a computer? 100% of them.

As a freelancer, the majority of your work relies on a screen. That’s why freelancers are at high risk of eyestrain from so much screen time.

Eyestrain happens when you don’t blink enough because you’re focusing on a task. And research shows that people blink less when they are staring at a screen.

Eyestrain makes your eyes red and dry and can cause your vision to become blurry. It can also cause headaches and pain in your neck and upper back and shoulders.

Tips to Avoid Eye Strain as a Freelancer

So how do you avoid eyestrain when you need to work on your computer all day? Here are some tips to keep your eyes healthy so you can stay focused:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something that’s at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Take breaks: Take a 15-20 minute break away from the screen every 2 hours.
  • Check the brightness: Try and make the brightness of your computer screen the same as the brightness in the room by either dimming your screen or increasing the brightness in the room.
  • Keep your distance: Make sure your screen is at least an arm’s length away from your eyes, and slightly below eye level.
  • Don’t stare at glare: Adjust your windows or room brightness, or use a screen filter to minimize on-screen glare.
  • Avoid dry eyes: A humidifier in your office or eye drops can help keep your eyes moisturized.

Eat an Eye-Healthy Diet

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has found that certain nutrients found naturally in specific foods are helpful for maintaining good eye health.

These nutrients include omega-3 fatty acids, the antioxidant duo of lutein and zeaxanthin, copper, zinc, vitamins A, E & C, and beta-carotene.

So what foods are good sources of these eye-saving nutrients?

  • Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, and anchovies are all good sources of omega-3s, which are important in protecting your retinas (the part of your eyes that receive light and transmit information to your brain).
  • Carrots & sweet potatoes: These veggies are orange because of their high levels of beta-carotene, which aids in the production of vitamin A, which helps your eyes absorb light
  • Leafy greens: Dark greens like kale, collard greens and spinach are what you’re looking for; they’ll provide you with plenty of vitamin C, as well as powerful antioxidants that help prevent cataracts.
  • Nuts, beans, & seeds: Cashews & peanuts, sunflower & chia seeds, and chickpeas & lentils are all great foods for your eyes, as they’ll get you the omega-3s, zinc, and vitamin E that support clear vision.
  • Eggs: Eggs have loads of the antioxidant duo lutein and zeaxanthin, which help fend off AMD (age-related macular degeneration, or damage to your retina). Eggs are also a good source of zinc and vitamins C & E.

Schedule Regular Eye Exams

Even if you’re diligent in protecting yourself from eyestrain and eating an eye-healthy diet, it’s important that you see a vision care specialist on a regular basis, at least once every two years.

An eye doctor can determine whether or not you’d see better with glasses or contacts, which can play a big role in helping you avoid eyestrain.

Eye exams can also help detect glaucoma (which damages your optic nerves, affecting vision), as well as other diseases and health issues, including diabetes and cancer.

Getting an eye exam every 1-2 years will help you keep a lookout for potential vision issues before they become bigger problems — whether that be spotting glaucoma or an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

Get Vision Insurance

You may not make it a priority to see your eye doctor regularly if you’re worried about the cost of the exam or recommended treatments, such as cataract or glaucoma surgery.

They say “hindsight is 20/20” — don’t let this be the case with your eye health!

Whether you’re freelancing full-time or contracting after work, vision insurance should be a part of your overall health care plan. It can help save you money on yearly exams, frames, contacts and more.

With a vision plan from Guardian Direct®, you get benefits including help with eye exam and retinal screening co-pays and generous allowances and discounts for glasses and contact lenses.

Learn more about vision insurance, available now from Guardian Direct >


Guardian Direct plans are underwritten and issued by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America or its subsidiaries, New York, NY. Products are not available in all states. Policy limitations and exclusions apply. Plan documents are the final arbiter of coverage.

Vision insurance is provided by VSP and billing and premium collection services for such vision insurance are conducted by DTC GLIC, LLC (d/b/a DTC GLIC Insurance Sales, LLC in California).  DTC GLIC, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America ("Guardian"). Guardian and DTC GLIC, LLC are not affiliated with VSP and Guardian and DTC GLIC, LLC do not assume any responsibility or liability for non-Guardian products or services, including those offered by VSP.GUARDIAN® is a registered trademark of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®

Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.

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