Our eyes give us the gift of sight! We must always remember to protect them. July is Eye Injury Prevention month, so it is a great time to be reminded of how to care for your eyes at work. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that there are more than 2,000 injuries that occur to people eyes at work each day. About 1 in 10 injuries require one or more missed workdays to recover from. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10-20 % will cause temporary or permanent vision loss.
Common causes for workplace eye injuries include: Flying objects (bits of metal, glass), tools, particles, chemicals, harmful radiation and blood-borne pathogens. Eye protections are required in many of these types of workplace environments. The most common workplace eye injury I see at my clinic is bits of metal on the cornea. These patients come into the clinic with a great amount of discomfort to the eye. Some tend to believe that the injury is minor and do not seek treatment immediately. It is very important to seek treatment immediately! The sooner the eye is treated the faster the eye recovers and less chance of permanent vision loss.
There are things you can do to protect your eyes from injury:
- Understand and know the eye safety dangers at your work place.
- Eliminate the hazards before starting work by using machine guards, work screens or other engineering controls.
- It is very important to use proper eye protection and to keep your safety eye wear in good condition and have it replaced if it becomes damaged. Scratched and dirty devices reduce vision, causes glare and may contribute to accidents.
- If an eye injury occurs; see your eye doctor immediately, even if the eye injury appears minor. Delaying medical attention can result in permanent vision loss or blindness.
Remember that your eyes are precious. When you are at work, make a habit of wearing the appropriate safety eye wear at all times and encourage your coworkers to do the same. Less eye injuries at work will make everyone happier.
Sandy Pham-Vang OD, FAAO
Dr. Pham-Vang is a MN board certified Optometrist. She earned a Fellowship from the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). A FAAO is an optometrist who has been evaluated against the highest standards of professional competence and met rigorous qualifications for fellowship. Dr. Pham-Vang is dedicated and committed to providing the highest level of service and utmost quality of vision care for her patients. She currently practices in Champlin at a clinic called Sharp Vision located in the same complex as Cub Foods where she takes care of her patients complete eye care needs.