What You Can Do to Protect Your Eyes in the Workplace
Sprains, burns, cuts, and broken bones aren't the only job-related injuries that can ruin a day at work. Depending on your job, you may also be at risk for several eye conditions or injuries. Reducing your risk can be as simple as following these tips:
Follow Safety Rules and Regulations
Although they may be inconvenient at times, safety rules and regulations are in place to protect employees from injuries. Disabling a guard on a piece of machinery or failing to wear your safety goggles could result in temporary or permanent loss of vision due to an eye injury. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, contact with machinery or objects were the most common causes of eye injuries that resulted in a missed day of work.
Make Eye Protection a Priority
Luckily, you can significantly lower your eye injury risk by wearing goggle, face shields, helmets, and other eye safety gear when you're around machinery or chemicals. The American Optometric Association recommends wearing the appropriate eye protection if you might be exposed to chemicals or their fumes, radiation, lasers, bloodborne pathogens, or concrete, dust, metal, or wood particles.
Protecting yourself from bright light is important if you're a welder or work outside for long periods. Twenty-five percent of welding injuries affect the eyes, according to Occupational Health & Safety Magazine. Exposure to flashes of light while welding can cause eye pain and swelling. Welding without adequate eye protection could increase your risk for damage to your retina, the light-sensitive tissues at the back of the eye.
Whether you're welding or working outside, wear eye protection that blocks 100% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet light may increase your risk of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and skin cancer around the eyes. If the safety glasses or goggles your job provides aren't comfortable, your eye doctor offers several types of eye protection available in both prescription and non-prescription varieties.
Work with Screens? Breaks Are Important for Your Eye Comfort
According to an analysis by the National Skills Coalition, 92% of jobs now require digital skills. Although laptops, tablets, cellphones and other digital devices undoubtedly make working easier, staring at these screens for hours can cause computer vision syndrome. Symptoms of the syndrome include:
- Blurry vision
- Dry Eye
- Neck, Shoulder and Upper Back Pain
Dry eye is a particularly common complaint among screen users, due to decreased blinking. Blinking keeps eyes moist by spreading a layer of tears over the front of the eyes. Unfortunately, people tend to blink less often when viewing screens.
Reminding yourself to blink and taking short breaks can help your eyes stay moist and comfortable. Eye doctors recommend taking breaks every 20 minutes. During the break, look at an object about 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds.
Improve Your Comfort with a New Pair of Glasses
Harsh office lighting and glare from screens can cause eye discomfort and even trigger migraines. Wearing glasses with special lenses can help you avoid headaches, eyestrain, and uncomfortably dry eyes. For example, rose-tinted FL-41 lenses might be a good idea if you suffer from computer vision syndrome, blepharospasm, or migraines or if you struggle with glare. The lenses filter some blue and green wavelengths that cause light sensitivity, while improving contrast.
Other options include computer glasses that provide clear vision at the optimum distance for viewing screens while filtering blue light and TheraSpecs lenses. Rose-tinted TheraSpecs lenses filter blue light and can be helpful for anyone who has migraines or experiences light sensitivity when exposed to fluorescent and LED lights.
Are your eyes fully protected at work? If not, we'll help you find eyewear that will keep your eyes safe from injury while providing crystal clear-vision. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Workers Suffered 18,510 Eye-Related Injuries and Illnesses in 2020, 3/31/2023
American Optometric Association: Protecting Your Eyes at Work
Occupational Health & Safety: Preventing Eye Injuries When Welding, 2/1/2007
All About Vision: Computer Glasses, 7/18/2023
Medical News Today: How to Prevent Fluorescent Light Headaches, 7/24/2020