One of the most common places eye injuries occur is at the workplace. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are as many as 800,000 work-related eye injuries every year. Eye accidents are quite costly. Prevent Blindness estimates that workplace eye injury costs a total of $300 million annually for medical bills, compensation and lost productivity.
There are many ways to be proactive when it comes to eye safety. Anticipating potential scenarios for eye injuries can influence wiser decision-making and prevent injury. Here are a few choices that you can make to keep your eyes safe at work and reduce the present statistics:
Keep eyes moist
Dryness in the air can make your eyes irritated and reduce visual clarity. Frigid air outside can cause sensations of burning, stinging and itching, but warm air can be just as irritating. Circulated air from heaters or blowers can also remove moisture from your eyes and affect your vision.
Use rewetting drops and lubricating eye drops when you are going to be outdoors, and administer drops again after coming inside. If you are inside for most of the day, try not to sit near heat sources. Your eyes may benefit from a humidifier, so consider taking a small, portable humidifier to the office to keep your eyes comfortable.
Wear sunglasses or safety goggles
Sometimes you need a physical barrier around your eyes to keep them shielded from the elements and the sun’s harmful rays. Contrary to what most people think, sunglasses are even more important in the winter because UV rays are twice as strong. Snow can intensify the reflection of the sun, so remember to wear sunglasses during all seasons of the year.
If work requires you to remain outside in the elements, you should always wear safety goggles to block dirt, dust, snow or ice that could cause an eye injury. Goggles can feel cumbersome, but a few moments of awkwardness could mean protecting your eyesight.
Take a break from contacts
Contact lenses are convenient, but they can dry out your eyes. Contacts act like sponges and absorb moisture, making your eyes irritated and your vision cloudy. Dried out contacts can be very difficult to remove because they cling to the eyes, and there is an increased risk for a corneal scratch. Wearing your glasses in winter is much healthier for your eyes because you can keep your eyes moist and have the benefit of some protection against foreign objects.
About 2,000 U.S. workers per day require medical treatment for work-related eye injuries, but you can reduce that number by taking some basic precautions. Benjamin Franklin said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but it may be worth a ton of cure when it comes to your precious eyesight.