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One of the most basic things you can do to keep your vision healthy is protecting your eyes from injury. It’s that simple.

Now more than ever, preventing injuries to eyes in the workplace and beyond needs to be a primary focus in our lives.  It is estimated that out of 2,000 eye injuries each day, about 1,000 occur in the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, almost 70% of eye injuries on the job are caused by either falling or flying objects, or sparks hitting a worker’s eye.

Eye Injuries at Work

The personal and economic toll of eye injuries at work is alarming. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20,000 workplace eye injuries happen each year. Injuries on the job often require one or more missed work days for recovery. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that workplace eye injuries cost an estimated $300 million a year in lost productivity, medical treatment and worker compensation.

These injuries range from simple eye strain to severe trauma that can cause permanent damage, vision loss and blindness.

The most important thing you can do to protect your vision at work is to always wear appropriate protective eyewear, which can prevent more than 90 percent of serious eye injuries.

Watch Out for Eye Dangers

Common causes for eye injuries are:

  • Flying objects (bits of metal, glass);
  • Tools;
  • Particles;
  • Chemicals;
  • Any combination of these or other hazards.

Protecting Your Eyes

There are three things you can do to help prevent an eye injury:

  • Know the eye safety dangers at work.
  • Eliminate hazards before starting work. Use machine guarding, work screens or other engineering controls.
  • Use proper eye protection.

Wear protective eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective eyewear. This is particularly true of workers involved in welding, which poses a high risk of on-the-job eye injury.

The type of safety eye protection needed depends on the hazards in your workplace and should be compliant with OSHA regulations for eye and face protection. OSHA also provides information about the types of filter lenses required for specific welding and cutting activities (PDF 181 KB), and cautions about the danger of eye irritation from welding fumes (PDF 405 KB) as well. If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields). If you are working with chemicals, you should wear goggles. If you are working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers or fiber optics) you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets designed for that task.

Always be sure your eye safety wear is OSHA-compliant and has been approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to meet their eye protection standards.

If an eye injury occurs, see an ophthalmologist or go to the emergency room immediately, even if the eye injury appears minor. Delaying medical attention can result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

Learn What to Do For an Eye Injury at Work

If you or a coworker injure your eye, follow these important care and treatment guidelines for eye injuries.

“As Ben Franklin once said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,'” says ophthalmologist Anne Sumers, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “It takes very little effort to protect yourself from on-the-job hazards that can cause blinding eye injuries. We strongly advise workers and their employers not to let their guard down when it comes to eye protection.”

Stay educated. And stay safe!


President’s Message

As the song goes, “Summer time and the living is easy…” These words never rang truer for our agency than this year as it is our first with brand new windows and central air! Within the past few months, the VRC has installed new energy efficient windows throughout the whole building (99 to be exact!) which have also helped with reducing the heating costs, improved interior illumination, and enhanced the appearance of the building. The air conditioning improvements were installed in early June, just in time for the warmer temperatures. Needless to say, the support of contributions made to our Capital Campaign have truly enhanced the working environment for our blind and visually impaired clients, our challenged employees, and the VRC staff. We are looking forward to our summer activities with clients and the warmer, longer days ahead! Hope you all have a great summer!

Until next time,
Lori Schermerhorn, President/CEO


Vision Resource Center provides programs and services to blind and visually impaired individuals and their caregivers in Berks County. Our mission is to strive to prevent blindness & visual impairment and to advocate and provide quality education, support services and rehabilitation to enrich the lives of blind and visually impaired persons and their caregivers. Our programs focus on helping to create an environment in Berks County in which all people who are blind or visually impaired can be a part of their communities with equal opportunities.Call 610-375-8407 for more information.  For up to date low vision and blind related news and information, check out our page on Facebook.


 

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