Workplace Vision Wellness

 

The month of March is Workplace Vision Wellness Month, and while you may think this does not apply to you, you are likely wrong.  Typically, we think of work-related eye injuries applying to those who spend most of their workday in construction zones, landscaping, farming, handling animals, manufacturing, etc.  But work-related eye injuries can also occur even if you spend your workday in an office, healthcare facility, laboratory, or drive for a living.

 

                According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work every day, with 1 in 10 injuries requiring one or more missed days of work for recovery and healing.  For people in that group, 10-20% may have temporary or permanent vision loss.

 

                Other statistics of significance:

 

  •  50,000 Americans lose sight from workplace injuries every year

 

  • Over 1 million Americans at the age of forty and older are blind

  • Over 3 million Americans at the age of forty and older are visually impaired

  • The most common causes of work-related eye injuries include (but are not limited to) the use of power tools which can create foreign body injuries from dust, metal or wood particles; hazardous chemical injuries; radiation injuries; blunt injuries from such objects as bungee cords or wires.

 

Because our goal is to help you protect your eyes, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few things that can be done to take care your peepers so that they’ll stay with you for the long haul:

 

  • Wear safety glasses if you’re working in an area that’s prone to airborne metal shavings, dust, wood, and/or glass; consider safety glasses with side shields or goggles in those work environments.  Even if you’re mowing, changing the oil in your truck, or working on a wood project in your own home, wear safety glasses.

  • If you work in a laboratory or clean houses for a living, chances are you deal with harmful chemicals that can burn and irritate your eyes.  Wear goggles and/or face shields to help protect against splashing chemicals in the eyes.

 

  • If you’re a welder or deal with lasers or fiber optics, wear safety goggles that are specifically approved to help protect your eyes against the specific light source.  To find out what type of protective shades you need, consult with your workplace safety officer.

  • Use artificial tears if you’re going to be on the computer, reading, or driving long distances for extended periods of time.  Avoid drops that “get the red out” as those types of drops are not designed to lubricate the eyes and can actually lead to increased redness if used for several days in a row. We are often so focused on the task at hand, our brain will sometimes forget to relay the message to the eyes and say, “Hey, you need to blink,” which, of course, can dry them out.  Take short breaks from the activity you are performing to give your eyes a break.  Sometimes it is even helpful to put a note at your work station that simply says “blink.” Remember to stay hydrated.  Consider readjusting your computer screen to help cut down on glare.

  • Finally, if you do experience a work-related eye injury, please call our office immediately for a same-day appointment. Additionally, do not attempt to remove any foreign body from your eye as this can cause more injury.

 

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