March Was Workplace Eye Wellness Month: Here’s How to Protect Those Peepers

Updated 12/28/20

When you have a problem with your vision, you’ll need to make an appointment for glasses or contact lenses. Both of these are excellent at correcting vision and giving you much clearer sight. If you know a lot about the human eye, you know just how many diseases and disorders there are that can affect the eyes in terrible ways. No one wants to lose their sight, but some acute eye conditions can rob you of some of or all of your sight. That’s why you need someone who knows and understands all eye parts and functions.

When you make an appointment with an eye doctor, you may wonder what’s in store for you. Generally, you will have certain eye tests first to test you for serious eye diseases. Then, you will have your sight analyzed by an ophthalmologist to find out what your vision will need to be clear. This will be your prescription for whichever method you choose for correcting your vision. Usually, you can choose and buy your eye-correction method right there in the store after you have had your eye exam. It’s a convenient way to stay on top of your eye health and to see better.

March may be the designated workplace eye care month out of the year, but this is something that deserves attention on a daily basis. In fact, in the United States, 2,000 works suffer eye injuries on the job per day. That’s why it’s important to practice eye safety and stay up-to-date on eye vision issues, for example, that could cause an accident while on the job or that were caused by an accident on the job.

Visiting an eye care center for eye care help is the first step toward taking control of your eye health, especially since eye maladies can occur without your even knowing it. Eye problems in people can occur as the result of a medical condition or due to an injury on the job. For those who work in hazardous conditions, it’s important to wear protective eye wear to avoid any problems with your eyes. In fact, up to 90% of eye injuries can be avoided by wearing protective eye wear. For those who work with monitors all day, it’s important to keep them 25 inches away to avoid eye strain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment on a daily basis. These same injuries, reports the American Academy of Ophthalmology, lead to more than $300 million worth of costs in lost productivity, medical treatment, and workers’ compensation. Subsequently, the month of March has been declared as Workplace Eye Wellness Month to inspire both employers and employees to prioritize vision safety.

According to AAO, around 40% of all work-related eye injuries are suffered by those who work in construction, mining, and manufacturing. The most common causes for workplace eye injuries include flying objects (such as metal or glass), chemicals, radiation, and tool-related accidents. Still, these aren’t the only eye hazards U.S. employees face. Those who have to utilize technology as part of their jobs are prone to eye strain, while workers who have to drive long distances to and from work — or drive as part of their actual job description — may be prone to eye injury or even more serious accidents.

For employees who work in hazardous environments, proper eye protection is a must. Wearing earplugs can help to protect our hearing, reducing noise by 15 to 30 decibels depending on the fit. But workers’ eyes need to be safeguarded, as well. In fact, the AAO estimates that up to 90% of on-the-job eye injuries could actually be avoided by wearing the right eye protection. On top of that, about one-third of nonfatal work injuries (that also required time off work) were suffered by inexperienced employees with less than one year on the job, workers who may be less likely to wear proper eyewear. Goggles, safety glasses, face shields, or even full-face respirators may be appropriate for a given environment; employers should conduct hazard assessments to determine which types of protective eyewear should be used. Eye protection should be comfortable, allow for adequate peripheral vision, and be properly fitted to each worker or have an adjustable feature.

For workers who aren’t involved in physical labor, eye health still needs to be a priority. Computers, tablets, smartphones, and other digital devices can cause immense eye strain, especially for those in full-time positions. Digital eye strain can lead to dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision. Employers should encourage workers’ computer monitors to be positioned 25 inches away from their face and encourage the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, have employees take a break from looking at their screens to view an object that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. As much as possible, employees should reduce glare and what’s called “blue lighting” in their tech. Adding better environmental lighting can help reduce eye strain, as well.

Employees who have to drive to work during dangerous times of day or who spend a long time on the road also need to protect their eyes. Wearing sunglasses, even when it’s not particularly sunny outside, can help block harmful UV rays. When driving long distances, make sure to take breaks. Around 6 million car accidents occur in the U.S. every year, but protecting one’s eyes while on the road can ensure employees stay safe.

Finally, employers can make a difference by including a vision plan as part of their benefits package and encouraging employees to get their yearly eye exams. In addition, holding workplace workshops regarding eye wellness, ensuring proper procedures are being followed, and providing incentives or workplace improvements to ease eye strain and hazards will show employees’ well-being is a top priority.

As you can “see,” eye wellness needs to be taken seriously. With these tips, you’ll be better able to protect your vision both at work and at home.

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