Workplace Eye Wellness Month: Protect Your Eyes

February 26th, 2021

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. Whether you work on a construction site, in an office or anywhere in between, you can adopt best practices to protect your vision. Our eye care experts at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute can treat every type of eye condition and specialize in cataract and LASIK eye surgery in Arizona.

Let’s start by examining the five most common eye injuries and then discuss how to protect your eyes at work.

Common Eye Injuries to Avoid

  • Scratches: When you feel eye irritation, it’s natural to rub your eye to remove the irritant. However, a scratch in your eye can lead to infection and serious injury. If your eye doesn’t clear up within a day or two, visit your eye doctor right away.
  • Chemical Burn: If you work around chemicals, they can splash into your eye or you can transfer chemical contaminants from your hands to your eyes. Fumes and vapors can also cause injury and chemical burns. Always wear the right eye protection to prevent chemical burns.
  • Flash Burn: If you work as a welder, tanning booth attendant or surrounded by other sources of bright light, you can get a flash burn. Wearing the required safety glasses for your job can help you prevent injuring your eyes.
  • Foreign Object: Food, dust, wood and other objects can become trapped in your eye. Often, flushing out your eye can remove the object. However, if an object penetrates the eye, seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Impacts: If you play sports or work in an environment with impact hazards, an object may directly impact your eye. This can result in a swollen black and blue area around the eye or damage to the eye itself. Depending on the circumstances, you should call 911 or come in for an eye appointment right away.

Types of Protective Eyewear

Chances are your workplace has regulations to follow while you’re on the job. If you work in a hazardous environment, that may include wearing the appropriate protective eyewear. Here are the most common types of eyewear protection for work:

  • Safety glasses: Prescription and non-prescription safety glasses can protect your eye from splashes and debris. However, they might not be strong enough to protect you from chemical burns and impacts. Follow the safety guidelines at your workplace to protect your eyes most effectively.
  • Goggles:  Goggles are heavier than safety glasses and protect your eyes from dust, impacts, and chemical splashes. They provide a shield around your eyes to protect against hazards from multiple directions. You can wear them over your regular eyeglasses or with contacts.
  • Face shields and helmets: This personal protective equipment can protect you from heat, chemicals and pathogens. Helmets with eye shields protect welders from dangerous materials. Face shields protect health care workers from contaminated bodily fluids.
  • Special protection: Depending on you where you work, you may require goggles and helmets with special filters. There are filters for radiation and light, for example.

Protect Your Eyes at the Office

Even if you work in an office, you can protect your eyes in honor of Workplace Weellness Month. Follow these best practices when spending long periods of time on a computer:

  • Position your screen so that you aren’t constantly in glare from an overhead light. An anti-glare screen can help make working on the computer more comfortable.
  • Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes or so, look away for at least 20 seconds. Choose an object about 20 feet away to rest your eyes from constant close computer work.
  • Use artificial tears to moisten dry eyes.
  • Drink water to keep your eyes hydrated.

Be kind to your eyes during Workplace Eye Wellness Month! If you experience trauma to your eye, visit our eye care specialists at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute. We are a premier eye center specializing in cataract and LASIK eye surgery and all of your vision needs in Mesa and Chandler.