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  • Writer's pictureBright Eyes Family Vision

Are You Practicing Proper Workplace Eye Safety?

We spend a lot of our time at work - we should be protecting our health while we're there, including our eyes! Especially for those who work in potentially dangerous environments, taking precautions for your eye safety at work is vital. According to the AAO, it is estimated that nearly 20,000 workplace eye injuries occur each year. Wearing proper eye protection can prevent up to 90% of these injuries. This Workplace Eye Safety Month, take some time to check your plan for protecting your vision at work!

Dangerous Workplaces

If you work in an environment that involves any of the following, your eyes are at risk:

  • Chemicals

  • Machinery

  • Radiation

  • Dust

  • Debris

  • Metal/plastic 

  • Other particles floating in the workspace

These irritants can cause long-lasting injury, vision loss, and even blindness. Eye protection such as goggles or workplace-specific glasses can keep you from discomfort and damage. 

If something gets in your eye, be sure to rinse with saline and schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Workplace glasses come in many different styles, but polycarbonate lenses are typically seen as the gold standard. These lenses are built to withstand more impact than regular eyeglass lenses, while still being lightweight and comfortable to wear. They can also be customized for UV protection and scratch resistance! 

Other Workplaces

Those working in environments without common irritants can still be at risk for damage, injury, and general eye discomfort. If you work with computers or other screens frequently and for long durations of time, you may experience conditions such as eye strain and dry eye.

It is recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology that you follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to refresh and avoid eyestrain! Doing any “close work” – looking at the same point up close for long periods of time – often leads to symptoms of eyestrain and discomfort. 

If you have dry eyes, avoid sitting directly underneath fans or air conditioners whenever possible. The air from these appliances may be further aggravating your dry eyes. Additionally, utilize the 20-20-20 rule! It is aimed to help dry eyes too, as we normally blink less while looking at a computer. Taking breaks often will help alleviate discomfort from dry eyes, and allow you time to blink at a more normal rate.

You may also find relief and improved symptoms after using computer-specific glasses. These prescription glasses are targeted directly for computer use, allowing your eyes to focus at the typical computer screen distance.

If you work outside, be sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays, even on cloudy days. Up to 90% of UV radiation passes through clouds, which means your eyes are still at risk! Cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration can start inflicting damage in your eyes if they are exposed to too much UV radiation. 

Accidents and injuries can happen any time at work, so be sure you are protecting your eyes year-round!

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