March is Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month:
Where are you most likely to suffer an eye injury? At work
In spite of safety programs and protective equipment, more than 2,000 working people in the U.S. suffer eye injuries each day. Damage to the eyes is usually caused when something unexpected happens. It could be a sudden splash of a caustic chemical or an airborne sliver of metal. Workplace injuries are the leading cause of vision loss and blindness resulting from an accident. Of the 2,000 injuries per day, 10 to 20 percent will be disabling because of temporary or permanent vision loss. Many of those injured say they didn't think they needed to wear eye protection or were wearing inappropriate eyewear. Doctors at the American Academy of Ophthalmology say proper eye protection is a matter of vital importance, especially in construction, manufacturing, and automotive repair. Eye health includes more than accident prevention. As more people use computers, eye fatigue and difficulty focusing have become common problems. But by themselves, computer screens don't damage vision. To reduce eye fatigue, computer users should take frequent breaks and rearrange their workstations for easier access to their computers. Wearing proper glasses or contact lenses can often relieve eye fatigue. Sometimes, heating and air conditioning systems can make eyes feel dry and scratchy. It could make you think something is in your eye. Over-the-counter eye drops usually relieve symptoms. If the problem continues, see your eye care professional for an evaluation. There you have it: Wear eye protection when there is even the slightest chance of an injury, and make changes in your workstation to relieve eye fatigue. Your eyes will be safer and healthier if you make the extra effort.