Eye Health in the Workplace

Most of us understand the importance of practicing healthy eating habits and proper exercise, but few consider vision health. The best thing we can do to maintain long-term vision health is learn how to protect our eyesight.

According to Friends for Sight, nearly 2,000 Americans injure their eyes while working each day. Among these injuries, a third are severe enough for treatment in the hospital emergency room. Most injuries that occur in the workplace are due to small particle abrasion of the eye or chemical splashing.

Yet, an individual’s eyesight might be damaged without a traumatic accident or spill. Computer work currently accounts for at least 14% of patient-reported eye problems, and this number is only expected to rise as our jobs and daily lives become more dependant upon electronic screens and devices. It is vital to learn and practice eye safety in the workplace, because the consequences of not doing so could lead to a troubling loss of vision.

It’s estimated that 10-20% of the all work-related eye injuries cause permanent vision loss, while wearing proper eye protection could lessen the severity or even prevent up to 90% of eye injuries in such accidents.

Simple precautions, like wearing safety goggles, helmets or face shields, will protect and, in many cases, save your eyesight. Health care workers in particular require eye protection, because infectious diseases may be transferred through the mucous membrane of the eye. Any time there is any type of eye hazard, proper eye protection must be worn at all times.

Elsewhere in the workplace, computer screens significantly endanger our vision. Overexposure to computer screens can make our eyes lose their natural ability to properly function. Help avoid vision strain while keeping up your productivity with these tips:

  • Keep the computer about 30 inches away from your eyes.

  • Rest your eyes every 15 minutes and focus upon an item at least 20 feet away.

  • Since computer screens reduce the natural frequency of blinking, remember to blink frequently to help reduce dry eye and maintain eye health.