On the job, our eyes often work just as hard as any other part of our body. Therefore, it’s just as important to protect them from harm by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
In March we celebrate two safety awareness campaigns centered on eye health: Workplace Eye Wellness Month and Save Your Vision Month. Maintaining your eyesight is often dependent on the work you do, how strained your eyes become, and having regular comprehensive eye exams from an optometrist.
This year the American Optometric Association’s Save Your Vision Month, is sharing, throughout March, the effects of blue light on overall health. Blue light is a high-energy visible light emitted from digital devices, which can lead to eye strain, sleep issues, blurred vision, headaches, and more. Americans spend an average of seven or more hours per day looking at screens, such as televisions, computers, tablets, and phones. Some solutions to giving your eyes a break from blue light includes:
- Powering down these devices for an extended period
- Following a 20-20-20 rule: 20-second breaks, every 20 minutes, and looking at something 20 feet away
- Stepping back
- Adjusting the brightness of your screen
Additionally, blue light filters are available to help reduce the amount you see every day, including screen filters and filters for those who wear glasses.
Blue light is harmful, but it is also important to consider the possible eye injuries out in the field or even in the office. According to the CDC, each day about 2,000 workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment. Harm can come to your eyes in numerous ways but these are the most common:
- Striking or Scraping – Dust, cement chips, metal slivers, and wood chips are just some of the small particles or objects that can strike your eye, resulting in the majority of eye injuries. These materials are often ejected by tools, wind, or debris falling from above.
- Penetration – Nails, staples, slivers of wood or metal are all objects that can damage your eye and result in permanent loss of vision.
- Chemical and Thermal Burns – Industrial chemicals or cleaning products can cause burns to the eyes, and along with thermal burns from welding, can damage worker’s eyes and their surrounding tissue.
To prevent injuries like these, it is important to wear PPE, such as goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or full face respirators. Individuals should choose the right PPE depending on their work or hazard situation.
Remember PPE can save your vision, and in the long run so can reducing your screen time.