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Workplace-Eye-Injuries-March-2014-550pxEvery day, approximately 2,000 work-related eye injuries are reported for medical treatment. Depending on the nature of one’s job, these incidents may include; common eye injuries such as chemical burns, scratched eyes, and eye bleeding; computer vision syndrome; or contagious eye infections. Fortunately, 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented through proper protection and safe practices. Therefore, whether you sit in an office, operate heavy machinery, or work with animals for a living, it is important to safeguard yourself at work.

In an effort to raise eye safety awareness and increase injury prevention, March has been declared “Workplace Eye Wellness Month.” Here are six tips to prevent work-related eye injuries:

  1. If required for your job, wear properly fitted safety glasses, goggles, or face shields that are required for your job and use anti-dust and anti-fog sprays to help prevent buildup on the lenses. Also, follow the safety instructions provided with the equipment, materials, or tools you are using.
  2. Store protective equipment carefully when it’s not in use. Wash it regularly with mild soap and water. Any damage to lenses or shields can result in inadequate protection.
  3. Be prepared in case of an emergency by equipping a workplace with an eye wash station. Also keep sterile eye solution on hand.
  4. Adapt your computer and work environment to reduce eye strain. Proper viewing habits can help prevent development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome.
  5. Follow the 20/20/20 rule – if you work on a computer, take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and shift your vision to something else 20 feet away.
  6. Prevent eye infections by washing your hands after handling pets, livestock, and animal waste.

One of the most important steps employees can take to preserve their eyesight is to have their eyes examined annually. Eye exams will help detect any unseen injuries or signs of more serious conditions like glaucoma and cataracts.

What are your workplace eye safety tips? Share your ideas in the comments below or by tweeting us, @MassGov.

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