Each day, more than 2,000 American workers suffer on the job eye injuries and each year, more than 25,000 Americans wind up in the emergency room due to a workplace eye injury. According to Prevent Blindness America, close to one million people in America have lost at least partial sight, due to an injury that occurred while at work. Workplace injuries involving the eye have resulted in medical expenses, lost wages, worker compensation, pain and suffering, and over $300 million in lost time according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To bring awareness to eye safety in the workplace, Prevent Blindness America has designated the month of March as Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month. Likewise, the American Academy of Ophthalmology wants to remind both employees and employers the importance of consistently wearing certified and approved eye protection while on the job.
Proper safety glasses can dramatically reduce the number of on the job eye injuries.Prevent Blindness America estimates that 60% of people, who suffered serious eye injuries while at work, were not wearing any eye protection at all. Safety eyewear could reduce the number of workplace eye injuries by as much as 90%. Wearing protective eyewear is a simple, safe and smart solution for anyone working in an environment that could be hazardous to their eyes.
The type of protective eyewear can vary depending on the type of work environment. If you work in a factory where production is happening, tools are involved and flying objects can occur, protective eyewear must be worn by all workers and anyone passing through the workspace. It is the responsibility of employers to provide the appropriate eye protection that meets the American National Standards Institute and is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Other workplace environments of concern for eye safety can include places where a worker may be exposed to harsh chemicals or other dangerous substances. People who work in healthcare and the dental field, laboratories, janitorial services or animal and pet services, can risk eye infections or the risk of exposure to disease and should consider using special eye protection to reduce their risks.
While we think of factories and other places where eye safety is clearly a factor, those who work from home or in an office and spend hours at their computer are also at risk for eye problems. While wearing protective eyewear won’t prevent computer vision syndrome, taking regular breaks from the screen or repositioning the screen to eye level can help. Computer vision syndrome won’t permanently damage your eyes but is can create temporary blurred vision, headaches, eye fatigue and dry eye syndrome. Dry heating and air conditioning can create dry environments for workers, however many over-the-counter eye drops can help keep your eyes hydrated.
During Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month and throughout the year, remember to use the appropriate eye safety wear to avoid a workplace injury and schedule your annual eye exams which are a vital part of preserving your vision and prevent potential damage from serious eye conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. Call 1.877.733.2020 or schedule an appointment today to learn more about our practice, read patient testimonials and receive excellent care.