A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

Best Practices for Eye Safety in the Workplace:

by dwasylow 26 November 2013 10:26 AM

It’s an unfortunate fact: work-related eye injuries happen. Can these injuries be avoided? Safety experts and eye doctors around the country say, yes. In fact, they believe 90 percent of eye injuries in the workplace could have been prevented with proper protection and safety habits.

It’s not surprising that many injuries come from industrial environments. On the job, our eyes are vulnerable to various hazards - projectiles, open chemicals and radiation in the form of UV and infrared light, just to name a few. High-risk jobs include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Carpentry
  • Electrical work
  • Auto repair
  • Plumbing
  • Welding
  • Maintenance
  • Mining

If you find yourself in one of these careers you’ll want to ask your employer to assess the work environment for eye safety. The employer can remove or reduce eye hazards where possible, and provide appropriate safety eyewear as well as require workers to use it.

You need to make sure you are using proper glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets specifically designed for your task. It’s the easiest and most effective way to keep your eyes safe.

If needed, your ophthalmologist or eyecare provider can assist your employer in determining potential eye hazards and evaluating the need for eye protection.

Do you work in an office job, and believe your eyes are pretty safe from hazards? Not so fast.

Office jobs where at least six hours per day is spent looking at some form of digital screen put eyes at risk as well. We subject ourselves to what is called digital eye strain.

We’re all familiar with the symptoms of digital eye strain:

  • Eye redness or irritation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • General fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches

Fortunately these too can be avoided, or at least lessened. Increasing the font size on your screen, setting up an “eye-gonomically” friendly work station or even using computer eyewear can all dramatically reduce the effects of digital eye strain.

A report from The Vision Council provides tips for preventing digital eye strain by adjusting both internal and external factors while at the workplace.

External Factors:

  • Reduce glare – Adjust the brightness of your screen to match the appropriate light level. Wiping down your screen with a clean cloth every so often can also help reduce glare.
  • Make sure lights around you are dim – If your screen isn’t competing for brightness with overhead or surrounding lights, your eyes will be less strained. 
  • Distance is healthy – Keep enough space between your eyes and the screen. For best practice, you should be far enough away where you can extend your arm and comfortably high-five the screen with your palm; if you can’t fully extend your arm, you’re too close to the monitor.

Internal Factors:

  • Blink, blink, blink – In addition to keeping your eyes moist throughout the day – staring at a screen can really dry them out – blinking helps your eyes refocus every so often.
  • 20-20-20 – It’s recommended you take a 20 second break every 20 minutes, and during that break look at something 20 feet away. This will give your eyes a nice rest every so often. 
  • Consider special eyewear – First and foremost, check to see if your prescription is up to date for corrective lenses. This can help alleviate a lot of strain. There are also glasses specifically designed to reduce glare from digital screens – to achieve this special tints and coatings are applied directly to the lenses. They’re available in both prescription and non-prescription lenses.

No matter where we work, eye safety should be in the back of our minds. Eyes are windows to our world, and we should do everything we can to protect and keep them healthy.

Tags:

Categories:

Comments (0)