March is Workplace Eye Wellness Awareness Month. Each day, more than 2,000 American workers suffer an eye injury, and nearly one million Americans have partially lost sight due to an eye injury, according to Prevent Blindness America. Workplace eye injuries have resulted in more than $300 million in worker’s compensation, lost time, and medical expenses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The type of workplace injuries we most commonly see at Eye Center, Inc are: blunt force trauma, corneal abrasions, ocular foreign bodies, and chemical burns. If you think you have experienced one of these injuries, it is best to be seen by one of our doctors right away.
Eye infections are another workplace eye “injury” you should be aware of. People who work in health care, laboratory, janitorial, or animal handling environments are especially prone to eye infection. It’s important to consistently wash your hands throughout your work day and see your optometrist if you are experiencing signs or symptoms of an infection.
What can be done to minimize risk?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends creating a checklist for Eye Safety in the workplace.
- Create a safe work environment
- You can accomplish this by minimizing hazards from unstable debris; making sure tools are working properly and workers and volunteers know how to use those tools; and keeping bystanders out of the way.
- Evaluate your safety hazards
- Identify your primary hazards and posed hazards.
- Wear proper eye protection
- Make sure the eye protection is in good condition and fits properly.
- Use good work practices
- Before removing your eye protection, dust off hardhats, hair, and forehead; don’t rub eyes with dirty hands/clothing; clean eyewear regularly.
- Prepare for eye injuries and first aid needs
- Be sure your workplace is equipped with an eye wash kit or sterile saline for rinsing. Artificial tears are also a good thing to have on hand in your first aid kit.
No matter what setting you work in, your vision and ocular health is extremely important and must be a priority in your day-to-day lifestyle. No matter what time of day, we’re here for you! If you suffer an eye injury, contact our 24-hour service line at (941) 756-2020.