How to Keep Your Eyes Safe at Work
When we repeat tasks over and over again, we begin to feel more comfortable with them. When this happens, we may start to become lazy and cut corners. This is when injury is more likely to strike. In other cases, injuries may happen as a result of a freak accident.
Regardless of how it occurred, at this point it is too late as the injury has already happened. But what if we can prevent the injury from occurring in the first place?
How do Eye Injuries Happen to Workers
Each day about 2000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one third of the injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments, and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days away from work.
These injuries can range anywhere from strikes, scrapes, penetration, chemical burns, or digital eye strain.
Strikes & Scrapes
These injuries result from small particles or objects coming into contact with our eyes. They are the most common form of eye injuries. These materials may be shot from tools or be blown in the wind. When they come into contact with our eyes they carry the possibility of injuring them.
Other larger objects may also come into contact with our eyes. These objects may strike our eye or face. In other scenarios, a worker may run into an object. Regardless of how the object came into contact with our eye, it may cause a blunt-force trauma to the eye and/or socket.
Penetration & Burns
Sharp objects, such as nails, staples, or shards of wood, glass, or metal may penetrate our eye. In this situation, the worker may lose vision in the eye permanently.
Alternatively, chemical burns may be the cause of eye injury. Industrial chemicals or cleaning products are the most common causes of chemical burns. These burns can result in damage to both the eye and surrounding tissues.
Digital Eye Strain
Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, occurs when your eyes are working harder to maintain a clear image when viewing a digital screen than normal. Digital eye strain can cause symptoms such as blurred vision, headaches, and sore eyes.
How to Protect Your Eyes at Work
The simplest way to protect from scrapes, strikes, penetration and chemical burns is to wear the appropriate protective eyewear suited to your role. This type of protection could include goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or full face respirators.
Choosing which form of protection is more appropriate entirely depends on the type of work being completed and the extent of the hazard. It may also rely on the amount of exposure to the hazard, and what other protective equipment is being used.
If your employer feels that protective equipment is not required, but you still feel unsafe, buy a pair of safety glasses. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Protecting Your Eyes From Digital Strain
Though wearing glasses may reduce digital eye strain, it won’t necessarily prevent it completely. Consider these tips to help keep your eyes healthy and strong:
- Position your computer screen at arm’s length and at about 20 degrees below eye level.
- Minimize reflected glare on your computer screen.
- Keep your screen clean from fingerprints and dust that can reduce clarity.
- If you are alternating between your computer screen and paper work, try to keep both the same working distance.
- Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
- Talk to our optometrist about adding a blue light filtering coating to your next eye glasses purchase.
Learning More About Eye Safety
It doesn’t hurt to know a little bit more about how to properly protect yourself. Visit our Optometrists to discuss various ways you can keep your eyes protected in your unique work environment.