If you have good vision, it’s likely you take your eyes for granted. Unless it’s compromised in some way, most of us don’t spend much time thinking about how amazing sight is. The human eye can distinguish between approximately 10 million colors, for example. It can also detect depth, as well as variations in light. These fascinating organs are also incredibly vulnerable, as evidenced by the body’s reflexive defensive reaction to objects that fly toward the face. It doesn’t take much to cause major and/or permanent damage, which is why the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, Prevent Blindness America, has designated March to be Workplace Eye Wellness Month.
Raising awareness and promoting eye safety in the workplace are important goals. Alarmingly, more than 2,000 Americans injure their eyes at work each day. Employers are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide proper safety eyewear in all necessary circumstances, including exposure to radiological hazards, chemicals, and certain environmental or mechanical irritants. It takes little more than a virtually undetectable spec of this or that to cause a huge problem, making protective eyewear essential in the workplace. It’s estimated that up to 90% of the eye injuries that occur at work could be avoided if eye protection were properly worn.
For those with industrial jobs, proper fit is essential to giving your eyes the protection they need. Keeping the eyewear clean increases visibility and is therefore also important. There is no use putting on a pair of protective lenses if they take away your ability to see well. A few things to also consider:
- If you already wear prescription glasses, the goggles you wear at work should have the same prescription. Or you can wear the protection over the glasses so long as it retains a good, safe fit.
- If you wear contact lenses, be extra cautious around vapors, fumes and dust, and be sure to always wear protective goggles.
- Utilize anti-dust and anti-fog sprays to prevent buildup.
- Plan, plan, plan. Be familiar with first-aid procedures, such as eye flushing in case of a chemical splash. Do not try to remove a foreign object by yourself.
One demographic that often gets overlooked in the eye safety department is office workers. While most of their day is likely spent not doing anything particularly dangerous, over time these employees are at risk for developing “Digital Eye Strain” caused by prolonged exposure to the blue light of computer screens. Sore eyes, irritated eyes, difficulty focusing, and headaches are all symptoms. Some studies have suggested that excessive screen time can cause damaged retinal cells, leading to cataracts or macular degeneration. Be aware of your computer use and help yourself by taking frequent breaks, making sure the screen is at eye level, wearing anti-reflective glasses, and being sure your work station is well-lit.
Proper eye protection is important, and we encourage our fellow Georgians to be proactive about the wellbeing of their vision. Depending on the circumstances, employers who fail to provide safe workplaces can be held responsible for resulting injuries. If you are trying to put your life back together after a work-related injury or if you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at The Mann Law Firm. We have over 50 years of experience helping people, and we can help you. Based in Macon, we proudly serve communities throughout Georgia. Contact us by calling (478) 742-3381 or by filling out our online form.