Protecting Your Eyes in the Workplace

Protecting Your Eyes in the WorkplaceAccording to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 2,000 people suffer from work-related eye injuries each day in the U.S.
Those who work in health care, environmental services, manufacturing and construction industries are at a greater risk. Common eye injuries can stem from the misuse of tools, oil and chemical spills, exposure to foreign objects, and fall pieces of glass or metal.
While labor intensive occupations are more prone, individuals who work in traditional office settings can also be at risk for eye injury. Professionals that utilize technology for long periods of time are susceptible to digital eye strain.
This condition occurs after prolonged use of computers, smart phones, TV screens and tablets. According to The Vision Council, more than 60 percent of American adults suffer experience symptoms of digital eye strain which includes an itchy or burning feeling in the eyes, dry or watery eyes, eye fatigue and headaches.

While there are many potential hazards in the workplace, there are several many ways to help keep your eyes safe:
  1. Proper eye protection: Doctors agree that proper eye protection is essential. If you work outdoors or are exposed to hazardous environments, you should wear protective eyewear. Safety glasses, helmets or goggles are some of the many options available that can help shield your eyes from potential dangers.
  2. Be aware of potential risks: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration better known as  (OSHA) is responsible for setting health and safety standards to protect employees in workplaces. You can talk with your human resources department can provide about the specific safety standards set by the OSHA for your working conditions/settings.
  3. Give your eyes a break: If your job requires a large amount of computer usage, be sure to utilize the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes and stare at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This exercise gives your eyes the chance to rest from straining for long periods of time.
  4. Routine eye exams: Routine eye exams each year can help identify and prevent any vision problems before they progress. Be sure to inform your doctor optometrist about any concerns or potential workplace hazards so they can recommend the proper eyewear for your protection.

The Eye Institute (TEI) offers a variety of diagnostic and treatment services including emergency care for eye injuries that require immediate attention. Patients can report to TEI’s Emergency Service during regular business hours. If emergency care is required after hours, patients who have had an exam in the past three years can call 215-276-3035.