On-the-job safety goes well beyond avoiding slips, falls, and heavy lifting. Caring for your eyes should be a high priority and part of an overall workplace wellness routine. Each day, about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. However, 90 percent of these accidents can be avoided by wearing eye protection. As part of an ongoing effort to stress the importance of workplace eye wellness, the Joseph & Swan Eye Center and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, during the month of March, is encouraging the public to do right by their eyes and wear appropriate eye protection.
Workplace eye injuries cost more than $300 million a year in lost productivity, treatment, and compensation. These injuries range from simple eye strain to trauma, which may lead to permanent damage, vision loss, and blindness. This is particularly true for workers in construction, manufacturing, and mining. Approximately, 40 percent of eye injuries in the workplace happen in these three industries.
If an eye injury does occur, an individual should seek care from an ophthalmologist — a physician who specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions — or go to an emergency room for immediate care.
Caring for your eyes on the job should not be limited to those who do physical labor, however. People who spend long hours working on a computer can experience eye discomfort. Focusing on small font type for hours on end can cause eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. Staring at screens for long periods can also leave eyes parched and red, causing eyes to become dry from lack of blinking. This happens frequently as computer screens or other digital displays reduce a person's blink rate by as much as 50 percent.
The Academy provides tips to help avoid workplace eye injury or strain:
"It takes only a few seconds to protect yourself from eye related issues that can cause vision problems," said Brenda PagÃ¡n-DurÃ¡n, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "I can't stress enough the importance of incorporating eye wellness into your daily routine; whether it's simply adjusting the setting on your computer monitor, or wearing appropriate protection to avoid serious eye injury. This is truly an ounce of prevention that can safeguard your vision."