The Month of March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. Too often, we see patients who have injuries that are a result of a workplace incident. Whether is it dry eye from spending too much time each day looking at a monitor, a piece of debris stuck in an eye, or a detached retina caused by an extraneous activity, there are lots of dangers that could present themselves at work.

Top Causes of Workplace Eye Injuries and Illnesses

  • Uncorrected vision problems leading to accidents
  • Masonry or carpentry work
  • UV light given off by welding torches
  • Wearing the wrong eye protection
  • Not wearing any eye protection
  • Hazardous conditions such as wind
  • Cleaning or chemical products
  • Too much time looking at screens

Preventing Workplace Eye Injuries

Preventing eye injuries is not hard to do. First off, OSHA rules should always be followed on any job site. Keep outside work areas clean and clear of debris. Always insist employees wear proper eye protection. If you are an employee, you should insistent that proper eye protection is provided.

  • Safety glasses are a start but offer minimal protection from debris and liquids.
  • Googles are a good solution for many work environments. Because they have sides and hug closer to the face, it is more difficult for harmful parts to get underneath and cause damage to your eyes.
  • Additional protection may be good on top of your glasses or goggles. An example of this may be a face shield which you may have seen your dentist wear.
  • Respirators and helmets are required for jobs like welding where conditions are particularly dangerous.

*All eye care needs to fit properly or it defeats the purpose. Properly fitted eyewear will be more comfortable and protect better against accidents.

Treating Workplace Eye Injuries

In the event that an accident does happen that causes an eye irritation or injury, it is important that it is treated properly and immediately. Wash stations are a good investment for work environments that have higher risks of injuries. These stations are designed to flush out any particles that may enter an individual’s eye. If there are no wash stations, then either an eye rinse kit or a regular sink can be used to flush out the eye. Washing the eye should be followed by an appointment at an eye care center as soon as possible. If the injury is severe and cannot wait for an eye appointment, a trip to the emergency room may be required. Whatever the case, seeking treatment as quickly as possible could save your vision.

Each year, nearly 25,000 Americans visit the emergency room due to a workplace eye injury. During Workplace Eye Wellness Month this March, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds employers and workers about the importance of wearing certified and approved eye protection. Happy Workplace Eye Wellness Month from all of us at the Fort Lauderdale Eye Institute.