Prevent Eye Injuries
October is Eye Injury Prevention Month! If you work in construction, medicine, landscape, or welding, you probably hear about this topic all the time. Eye protection is a critical part of Occupational Health and Safety, and for good reason: more than 2,000 eye injuries occur in the workplace everyday. We can’t stress this enough: the best way to prevent eye injuries is to wear protective eyewear. It reduces your risk for an eye injury by 90%, and it’s required by OSHA, if you’re exposed to hazards like flying objects, molten metal, chemicals, or radiation. When it comes to eye protection, this isn’t a choice! If you are at risk of injuring your eyes on the job, you need to wear protective eyewear.
*Note: Everyday eyeglasses do not count as protective eyewear.
Unless your company has a specific standard, you can choose what type of eye protection you wear: goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or even full-face respirators. Don’t just throw on the first pair of safety goggles you find, though. Make sure your eyewear is in good condition and properly fits your head, otherwise it’s not going to correctly shield your eyes.
If you have concerns about eye safety at your workplace, please talk to your manager or leader right away. Don’t wait until an accident happens.
If you already wear protective eyewear on the job, then props to you! You’re taking the first step to prevent eye injuries. However, eye safety doesn’t end when the work day does. In a survey by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 70% of respondents said they don’t wear protective eyewear at home, while doing home repairs or maintenance. That probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you find out that 40% of eye injuries were caused by home projects – like repairs, cleaning, and cooking.
Even if it feels a bit silly, wear protective eyewear at home. It’s such a simple way to protect your eyes, and it’s an easy investment. When choosing protective eyewear, make sure to purchase glasses, goggles, or a shield that is marked with “ANSI Z87.1.” This means the eyewear meets the American National Standards Institute safety standard. You can find this certified eye protection at most hardware stores.
Before we end, we want to share six easy ways to prevent eye injury, in addition to wearing protective eyewear! See how easy eye safety is?! (Sorry, we couldn’t resist!)
PROTECT YOUR EYES
Wear sunglasses when you’re outside.
Go the the eye doctor once a year.
Eat plenty of antioxidants, which will reduce your risk for cataracts.
Remove your eye makeup every night.
Quit smoking; smoking increase your risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, and damage to your optic nerve.
Take breaks from looking at screens – televisions, cell phones, and computers.