According to a survey, there are nearly 800,000 work-related eye injuries each year. Every day, approximately 2,000 workers receive medical treatment for eye injuries related to or sustained at work. White-collar workers too are at risk of eye injuries. While vision loss is one of the 10 most common disabilities, 90% of eye injuries are preventable making eye safety a necessity.
Here’s how you can ensure safety of your eyes while at work.
When employees work in places where particles, chemicals, or other dangerous hazards can get into a person’s eyes, they need to have the right protective gear. It seems obvious, but simply wearing eye safety gear is a huge step in preventing injuries.
While it’s a big first step, eye safety requires more than just wearing goggles, glasses, or face shields. Workers need to make sure that eye safety equipment is properly fitted. Too tight or too loose isn’t going to be nearly as helpful as a comfortable, secure fit, so companies need to make sure their employees are using protective gear correctly to help protect them against potential problems.
Employers must provide PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) training for each employee who is required to use PPE in the workplace. Use training as an opportunity to highlight eye injury statistics and workplace hazards, demonstrate how and when to wear eye protection, and how to properly care for eyewear. Training should also provide guidelines for proper emergency response in the event that an eye injury occurs.
Digital Eye Strain
Digital devices often feature small print and images, which causes our eyes to strain in order to focus. And considering that uncorrected eyestrain can lead to headaches and blurry vision – some even believe that it can cause nearsightedness – it’s important that patients address the issue during their routine eye exams.
Many patients benefit from a light computer prescription with a non-glare coating to alleviate eye strain. At least once an hour, you should take a five-minute break and look out a window or down the long hallway. Doctors also suggest increasing font sizes and adjusting contrast/brightness to make the text easier to read at a comfortable distance. (Ideally, your computer screen should be positioned so that it is one arm’s length in front of your face.)
Use Proper Lighting
A major culprit in causing eye strain is glare. Glare on a computer screen is caused by harsh overhead lighting or light coming from windows, usually directly behind or in front of you. Position your computer screen to avoid glare and use drapes or blinds on windows if necessary.
Don’t Forget to Blink
This may seem obvious, but studies have shown that when we use computers we tend to blink a lot less, which causes your eyes to become dry and irritated. Blinking helps to keep your eyes lubricated and also helps to spread necessary nutrients across the eye.
If you encounter a workplace eye injury, be sure to follow the appropriate steps to treat eye injuries based on your industry. Guidelines and policy for eye safety should be easily accessible. If that information is not readily available, bring it to the attention of your manager or supervisor. If irritation or inflammation persists after you’ve taken the proper steps, seek immediate medical attention.