Every day, more than 2,000 American workers suffer an eye injury. And nearly one million Americans have lost some of their sight due to an eye injury, according to Prevent Blindness America (PBA). These injuries have resulted in more than $300 million in lost work time, medical expenses and worker compensation.
Importance of Safety Eyewear
Wearing safety glasses is the easiest and most effective way to reduce workplace eye injuries. Ninety percent of workplace eye injuries could be avoided if safety eyewear is used effectively. Almost three out of five people that suffered eye injuries at work were not wearing eye protection at all.
Safety eyewear varies depending upon the type of work being done. Anyone passing through a work site should wear safety eyewear to avoid injuries caused by flying objects, tools, particles and other hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to ensure workers have suitable eye protection.
Risk of Infection
Certain fields of work carry the risk of eye infection. Workers in the health care, laboratory, janitorial or animal handling industries need to consider special eye protection to reduce the risk of exposure to both minor and major illnesses to the eye.
Office Worker Eye Problems
Even employees in offices environments can suffer eye problems. The most common condition is computer vision syndrome. Computer screens do not permanently damage vision, but they can cause headaches, tired eyes and difficulty focusing. Taking more frequent rest breaks and positioning your computer screen to eye level can help in avoiding eye problems.
Some office workers may have dry eye syndrome (when the eyes do not produce enough tears to keep the eye comfortable), due to heating and air conditioning systems in office buildings. Over-the-counter drops and proper hydration can help.
Annual Eye Exams Key to Prevention
One of the most important steps employees can take to preserve their eyesight is to have their eyes examined at least annually. Eye exams help evaluate unseen injuries to the eye, as well as the signs of serious eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts.
For more information about workplace eye health, visit http://www.preventblindness.org/eye-health-safety
By: Joe Chavis II, MHR, LADC
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