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5 Industries with High Risks for Eye Injuries

by Damion Wasylow 28 February 2020 06:55 AM

construction worker cutting through material while wearing safety glasses
In the United States, nearly 2,000 workers per day sustain on-the-job eye injuries that require medical treatment. Often, these injuries include severe trauma that can cause permanent damage, vision loss and blindness. This latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention illustrates the importance of making eye safety a workplace priority, particularly in industries with higher prevalence of eye injuries.

The highest-risk industries for eye injuries include: 


It’s easy to understand how construction tops the list. On any given construction site, people are working with a variety of dangerous tools, any of which could pose a threat to one’s eyes. In addition to the potential for blunt force or poking trauma to the eyes, there’s also a lot of debris in the air. Sawdust, metal filings, cement chips and more can cause serious eye damage. 


Much like construction, the manufacturing industry is inherently dangerous. While these workers also face the risks associated with impacts from tools, machinery and materials, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 30% of manufacturing industry eye injuries occur to workers operating assembly, sanding and grinding machines. Manufacturing workers are also at increased risk for eye damage resulting from chemical exposure.

Automotive Repair

Eye injuries are far too common in auto repair shops. No matter how high-risk of a task they’re doing, many mechanics don’t wear eye protection. Sparks from saw blades, airborne metal from bench grinders and exposure to welding torches can all lead to serious eye injuries. A study on injuries to auto service technicians published by the BLS reported, “Eye injuries accounted for 7.8 percent of injuries to mechanics, compared with just 2.8 percent among all occupations.” 


In healthcare, the risk is less about contact trauma or flying debris, and more about viral and bacterial infections that can be contracted through the eyes. The risk for infection is highest in hospitals due to the likelihood of blood splatter and other splashed bodily fluids. Even dentists and dental hygienists can be at risk, prompting many to wear eye protection during every patient treatment.


This one comes as a surprise to many people. The biggest eye safety risk for most office workers comes from the blue light emitted from computer screens. According to the eye health advocacy group Prevent Blindness, excessive exposure to blue light can lead to digital eye strain and retina damage. As office workers spend more and more time in front of their screens – and often multiple screens – blue light exposure levels increase each year.

No matter what industry you’re in, wearing appropriate protective eyewear is key to keeping your eyes safe at work. It’s estimated that 90% of all workplace eye injuries can be reduced in severity or avoided by using proper safety eyewear.

Whether you’re in a high-risk industry or not, it’s a good idea to get regular comprehensive eye exams to ensure your eyes are in top shape. At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, we perform eye exams on patients of all ages, and we can even help you find eyewear best suited to keep your eyes safe on the job.

Contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



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