Workplace Eye Wellness Month
Learn how to keep your eyes safe while on the clock.
According to the CDC, every single day, about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment. This means that almost 1 million Americans have experienced some vision loss due to an eye injury, resulting in over $300 million in lost work time, medical expenses, and workman’s compensation.
To bring more attention to eye safety, Prevent Blindness—the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety group—declared March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month to help employees and employers find the best ways to keep their vision healthy.
For those in outdoor work or physical labor, eye injuries can pop up at any given time. From flying debris to power tool accidents, protecting your eyes is critical to avoid any life-changing disasters.
Make sure to always have proper and well-fitted goggles, shields or other eye care while on the job. Employers should be holding eyecare training sessions, placing eyewear safety posters throughout the workplace, and sending out safety reminders to all employees.
However, outdoor work and physical labor aren’t the only careers at risk for eye injuries.
Surprisingly, working in an office environment can be just as dangerous to your eyesight as physical labor jobs—just in different ways. The major eyesight hazard facing employees is blue light, commonly found in digital devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and televisions, most of which are used daily in the workplace.
For those who don’t know, blue light is a color in the visible light spectrum that consists of short wavelengths, which produces higher amounts of energy to elevate moods and boost alertness.
The downside of blue light is prolonged exposure can cause eye injuries like blurred vision, eye strain, dry eyes, headaches and migraines, macular degeneration, and cataracts—all of which can lead to permanent vision loss.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent excessive eye strain while still staying productive in the office. For workplace eye safety try the following tips throughout your work day:
- Reposition your screen. Adjust your computer screen at a right angle, 20-26 inches away from your face, and a little bit below eye level, to avoid direct eye contact. Apply an anti-glare screen to your computer screen for additional precaution.
- Use the 20-20-20 rule. Do not stare at your screen for too long. Try taking regular breaks every 20 minutes by staring at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Don’t forget to blink. This may seem simple but studies have shown that staring at a screen for extended periods of time, lengthens the interval between blinks, preventing eyes from staying lubricated and moistened. If you find yourself needing relief from dry eyes, try using artificial tears.
And finally, the best thing you can do to avoid any long-term eye injuries, is to schedule a routine check up with your eye doctor.