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March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Each year approximately 20,000 eye injuries occur in the workplace, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranging from simple eye strain to “severe trauma that can cause permanent damage, vision loss and blindness.” The key to protecting vision while at work is to use appropriate protective eyewear, which can prevent most serious eye injuries. To underscore the need to protect eyes at work, Workplace Eye Wellness Month is commemorated annually in March. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Prevent Blindness note that the specific eyewear to provide protection depends on the hazards faced. For example, for working around particles, flying objects, or dust, safety glasses with side shields help; for handling chemicals, wear goggles; and for work near radiation, such as welding, lasers, or fiber optics, select specially designed safety glasses. If an eye injury occurs, it is critical to get help without delay to prevent permanent vision loss. Even for an injury that seems minor, “it’s best to (go) to the emergency room immediately.” The use of digital devices at work, such as computers, tablets, and smart phones, can also cause eye strain, headaches, and eye fatigue. As pointed out by Cedars-Sinai, workers may be at risk for digital eye strain if they spend considerable time each day at a computer or digital device; are too close to the device screen; view at an incorrect angle or with “bad posture;” have eye problems not corrected with glasses or contact lenses; eyeglasses not suitable for the viewing distance of the computer; or do not take breaks. Prevent Blindness offers information on workplace-related eye injuries, how to avoid them, and guidance regarding potential risks for those using digital screens. Resources include a “Workplace Safety” module in its free program, the Healthy Eyes Educational Series, along with workplace eye safety fact sheets and shareable social media graphics. Read more news here from Prevent Blindness about Workplace Eye Wellness Month and how to “Keep Eyes Healthy and Safe, Protected at Work.” The AAO offers additional details here about how Workplace Eye Injuries Cost Time, Money and Vision.