Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Man working with machinery while using eye protection

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month as designated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. At Vision First Eye Center, we want all our patients to understand how to protect their eyes at work.

There are risks to your vision whether you are doing industrial work or working at a computer in an office. Keep reading to learn more about how you can keep your eyes safe in the workplace!

Traumatic Eye Injury

Did you know that each year, almost 25,000 people visit Emergency Departments for occupational eye injuries? Many of these people suffer permanent vision damage or even blindness.

Often, these injuries could have been prevented if the victims had proper safety equipment and the right safety training.

Workers in industries such as construction, manufacturing, auto repair, landscaping, and animal care are at high risk for work-related eye injuries. Those injuries generally fall into the following five categories:

  • Striking or scraping the eye by small particles or objects such as dust and cement or wood chips
  • Blunt force trauma from large objects striking the eye or face
  • Penetration from nails, staples, or slivers of wood or metal
  • Chemical burns from industrial chemicals or cleaning products
  • Thermal burns from welding

The best way to protect yourself from a traumatic eye injury is to always wear protective eyewear. When wearing your protective eyewear, make sure it fits properly.

If it feels too loose, your safety eyewear won’t be able to protect your eyes. Depending on your job, you may need goggles, safety glasses, a welding helmet, full face respirator, or a face shield.

Ask your employer to provide specific safety training on an annual basis. This is necessary for workers to be safe in the workplace.

Computer Vision Syndrome

If you work in front of a computer or other electronic devices, you may think you aren’t at risk of a serious eye injury. You are, however, more likely to suffer from digital eye strain.

Symptoms may include blurriness, double vision, dry eyes, and general discomfort and irritation.
There is no proof that computer use causes permanent eye damage. But these symptoms can interfere with your quality of life.

Here are some simple steps that may prevent or decrease computer vision syndrome:

  • Reduce glare by adjusting your computer screen to be at a right angle from any direct light source. Adding a filter to your monitor can help with any glare as well.
  • Utilize the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes you should look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more. Take a break and walk away from your computer every two hours.
  • Update your computer settings by adjusting for brightness, contrast, and font size. This may mean making things brighter, larger, and easier to read.
  • Blink your eyes more to keep them from getting dried out.
  • Use artificial tears to help prevent symptoms of dry eye and keep your eyes comfortable.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking enough water, especially during the winter when heaters make the air dry. Room humidifiers are also beneficial in reducing the effects of a dry environment.

Let your eye doctor at VisionFirst Eye Center know if you are having any problems with your eyes. You may need new glasses or contact lenses, or you may need a special lens for computer work. Some people benefit from tinted lenses that boost contrast and filter out glare. These can be particularly helpful if you spend most of your day looking at several screens.

Want to make your eyes and their health in the workplace a priority? Schedule an appointment at VisionFirst Eye Center in Birmingham, AL now!

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