March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. The Berkeley Eye Center and the American Academy of Ophthalmology want to take this time to raise awareness of the importance of vision safety in the workplace and practicing workplace eye injury prevention.
Eye Injuries in the Workplace
On any given day, over a thousand U.S. workers suffer a job-related eye injury severe enough to require medical treatment. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace eye injuries cost the US economy more than $300 million a year in lost productivity, medical treatment, and worker compensation claims. These eye injuries range from simple eye strain and irritation to severe trauma that can result in permanent damage, vision loss, and even blindness.
Common causes for eye injuries in the workplace include:
- Flying objects
- Accidents involving tools
- Bright lights
- Smoke, welding fumes and other harmful gases
- Airborne particles
- Liquid splashes
- Chemical exposure
- Radiation exposure
In addition, health care workers, laboratory and housekeeping personnel, and other workers may be at risk of acquiring infectious diseases from eye exposure.
If you injure your eye on the job, see your ophthalmologist or go to the emergency room immediately, even if the injury seems minor. DO NOT attempt to treat a serious eye injury yourself. Delaying medical attention can have devastating results, such as permanent vision loss or blindness.
Preventing Workplace Eye Injuries
There are many ways management and employees can make the workplace safer and prevent eye injuries. A good place to start is by identifying and eliminating eye injury hazards in the workplace. This includes installing machine guards, screened or divided work stations, eye wash stations and other engineering safety controls.
All employees should be required to wear the appropriate eye protection in hazardous situations at all times. Regular inspections will ensure everyone is complying with company standards for eye safety.
Regularly scheduled safety training is another effective way to reduce eye injuries in the workplace. Workers should learn not only how to avoid eye injuries in the workplace but also first aid procedures in case of an injury.
By far the most effective way to prevent injuries to the eye while on the job is by wearing protective eye gear such as safety glasses (with side shields), face shields, goggles, and welding helmets.
Protective Eye Wear is the Best Way to Prevent Eye Injuries
According to OSHA, 90% of eye injuries can be prevented through the use of proper personal protective equipment. Employees, managers and visitors should wear protective eye gear in any area of the workplace where there is a possibility of eye injury.
Wearing the right type of protective eyewear is important as well. The type of safety eye protection needed depends on the hazards in your workplace and should be compliant with OSHA regulations for eye and face protection. Filtered lenses are often required for welding and working around lasers. Safety glasses with side shields protect against flying object, airborne particles and being blood borne pathogens. Welding helmets offer protection not just for the eyes, but also the entire face and head.
Eye safety gear should be OSHA-compliant and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to meet eye protection standards.
Houston Eye Safety
The Berkeley Eye Centers of Houston urge all of our friends and patients to make eye health a part of their daily wellness routine.
We’ve been helping Texas residents for more than 50 years and are recognized as one of state’s most reputable comprehensive eye care clinics. Our patients know they can depend on Berkeley Eye Center’s years of experience, quality doctors, and leading-edge technology to deliver the highest quality of eye care.
If you’re experiencing vision problems, or it’s been a while since you’ve had your eyes checked, give us a call to schedule an eye exam. With 20 full-service eye care clinics in Houston, Katy, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Brenham, Corpus Christi and beyond, we can help you find a Berkeley Eye Center near you.