Every day across the U.S., more than 2,000 people suffer a job-related eye injury. Of these people, 1 in 10 will miss work to recover from the injury, and about 10 to 20% will suffer temporary or permanent vision loss.
Prevent Blindness America marks March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month to draw attention to the issue of eye safety at work and help prevent injuries.
Fortunately, 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented with proper eye protection. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide their workers with proper eye protection; however, accidents do occur still.
Some of the most common causes of work eye injuries include:
- Flying debris
- Harmful radiation
The Houston eye doctors at Berkeley Eye Center strongly encourage workers to insist on the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to and other measures to protect their eye safety at work.
Wear Appropriate Eye Wear at All Times – Especially at Work
According to OSHA regulations, an employer must ensure that each employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, biohazardous materials or potentially injurious light radiation. Depending on the type of work, appropriate eye protection can include:
- Safety glasses
- Safety glasses with side protection
- Hybrid eye safety products that combine the comfort of glasses with the enclosure of goggles
- Face shields
- Face shields over glasses or goggles
- Full-face piece respirator
- Welding helmet, goggles, or welding respirator with the appropriate lens shade for cutting or welding jobs
- Eyewear with filter lenses appropriate for the work being performed
If you are unsure about the appropriate protective eye gear to wear while on your job, speak to your supervisor or company safety officer.
Digital Eye Injuries
Just because you don’t work at a manufacturing or construction job doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about eye safety at work. Prolonged use of digital devices, such as computers, tablets and cell phones, can also be detrimental to your eyes. According to a report from The Vision Council, 80 percent of adults spend at least two hours a day on a digital device, and nearly 67 percent use two or more devices at one time.
Almost 60 percent of adults report symptoms of digital eye strain. Symptoms of digital eyestrain include:
- Dry eyes
- Irritated eyes
- Blurry vision
Office workers can take several easy steps in order to prevent the effects of digital eyestrain. Our Houston eye doctors recommend the following for those who spend hours working on a digital device every day:
- Make sure your screen is 20-26 inches away from you and a bit below eye level.
- Put a document holder next to your screen to avoid constantly changing eye focus.
- Make your digital device’s text larger to make for more comfortable reading.
- Adjust the lighting around your workstation to reduce glare and harsh reflections.
- Follow the 20-20-20 break plan: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away.
- Don’t forget to schedule a comprehensive, dilated eye exam every year with a Houston eye doctor at Berkeley Eye Center.
During Workplace Eye Wellness Month, Berkeley Eye Center urges employers to re-evaluate the safety precautions in place to protect their workers. For workers who suffer an eye injury, it’s important to contact us immediately to schedule an exam.
Schedule Regular Comprehensive Eye Exams
Keeping up with regularly scheduled eye exams is the best way to ensure your vision has not been affected by your workplace conditions. A comprehensive eye exam can detect potentially unseen injuries to the eye, as well as spot serious eye conditions like cataracts or glaucoma in their early stages.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had your eyes checked, now is the time to schedule an eye exam with the Houston eye specialists at Berkeley Eye Center. Our team of skilled optometrists and ophthalmologist have been protecting the vision health of our patients for over 60 years. We have locations all over Houston and surrounding communities, so call today to schedule your comprehensive eye exam!