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Take Time to Focus on Eye Health & Safety

With a national focus on eye safety and UV safety during the month of July, now is a great time to focus on and assess your approach to eye safety and UV protection. Begin by asking yourself some simple but significant questions.

Do you wear proper protection in the sun?

Does your workplace have a sufficient eye safety program?

Do you protect your eyes when working around the house?

You only have one set of eyes, so take the time now to properly protect them and prevent illness and injury.

UV Protection

UV radiation during the summer months is three times higher than in the winter, and Yes, Your Eyes Can Get Sunburned. UV radiation can increase the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and more. The EPA states that the best way to achieve maximum eye protection in the sun includes wearing sunglasses that block at least 99% of both UVA and UVB raysalong with a wide-brimmed hat. Contact wearers can also wear UV-blocking contacts.

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Eye Safety

More than two-million eye injuries take place in the U.S. every year. Almost half of those happen in the home or while playing sports with almost the full other half taking place in the workplace. Out of the two-million injuries each year, 90% are preventable. To reduce the chance of becoming a part of these statistics, consistently apply the following safety tips.

  1. Have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear in the house. Of course, having them and using them are two different things. Wear them for activities like yard work where flying debris is common and when cleaning with chemicals that could splash into the eye. Make sure bystanders are wearing them too (yes, that many mean having more than one pair available).
  2. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports. Certified eyewear exists for most sports from fishing and football to golf and cycling. Since such a large number of eye injuries occur during sports each year, the time and money spent to get the right pair at every age (that means kids too) is well worth it.
  3. Promote Eye Safety at Work. OSHA states that more than 1,000 eye injuries occur in the American workplace every day, costing more than $300,000 per year. Make sure your eye safety program at work identifies workplace hazards, makes appropriate eyewear available, provides regular training, promotes the program through visual reminders, and makes emergency treatment options readily available.
  4. Make sure children are protected too. Eye injury often occurs when children play sports, but it also happens a lot when children simply watch adults doing activities such as yard work and fireworks. Teaching children about eye safety is important, as is being a good role model by protecting your own eyes. Instructing children on basic safety measures as well as getting them protective eyewear when they want to help around the house also go a long way in preventing eye injury in children.
  5. Be prepared for an emergency. Accidents will happen, so be prepared when they do. The workplace should have a specific plan of action known to every employee. In the home, make sure an eyewash kit is available and that you know what to do in the case of eye injury. Having a plan of action can prevent injury from becoming worse or permanent.

July presents a great opportunity for focusing on eye health. The sun shines more. People go outside more and are more active. Yard work gets done. Outdoor maintenance takes place. More opportunity means more chances of injury to the eyes. Take this opportunity to assess the state of personal UV protection as well as at-home and workplace eye safety.

Want safety information specific to your favorite activity or event? Check out the articles below!

Benefits of Copper, Orange, Amber/Yellow & Brown/Bronze Lens Tints

Benefits of Copper, Orange, Amber/Yellow & Brown/Bronze Lens TintsSituational Benefits

Copperorange, yellow/amber and brown/bronze lens tints make your environment appear brighter and are commonly used in low-light conditions. These lens tints block blue light and enhance contrast and depth perception making them helpful for overcast, hazy and foggy conditions.

Blue light, with its shorter wavelength, scatters easier than other colors and makes focusing more difficult. Removing blue light therefore improves sharpness and depth perception and reduces fatigue.Note that these lens tints do cause some degree of color distortion, though brown/bronze lenses do so considerably less than do yellow/amber or orange lenses.

Common users of copperorange, yellow/amber and brown/bronze lens tints include baseball players, golfers, hunters and cyclists as well as those playing indoor sports and water sports. Individuals spending a considerable amount of time in front of a computer screen also find yellow/amber tints helpful because they reduce eye fatigue and strain by blocking blue light.

The specific lens tint – copperorange, yellow/amber or brown/bronze – depends on individual preference and situation.

Health Benefits

Recent studies are showing new uses for lens tints that block blue light, and the potential applications would have significant impact for many individuals. Consider the following:

  • Sleep problems – Studies show that excessive light, especially blue light given off by computer screens, televisions and ambient light in most homes, suppresses melatonin. Melatonin, our natural sleep hormone, helps us get to sleep. For those struggling falling asleep, wearing lenses that block blue light for an hour before bed may prevent melatonin suppression, thereby allowing individuals to fall asleep more quickly and easily.
  • Bipolar disorder – Preliminary research shows that blocking blue light may help stabilize mood for individuals suffering from some forms of bipolar disorder. According to Dr. Jim Phelps, this “dark therapy” works basically in the opposite way as light therapy for depression.
  • Macular degeneration – Excessive blue light from sunlight may be one cause of age-related macular degeneration. This eye-disorder exists at the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Dr. Janet Sparrow says that exposure to blue light essentially fuels the release of harmful free radicals that damage eyes and cause macular degeneration.

Based on this research, consider wearing copper,orange, yellow/amber or brown/bronze lens tints if you struggle falling asleep, have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or want to prevent age-related macular degeneration.

While copper lenses block blue light better than the other lenses mentioned, they may be too dark for many to wear inside. Yellow/amber, orange and brown/bronze lenses still block enough blue light without the dimming effect to still produce some of the same benefits mentioned above.

More research is needed, but exposure to blue light clearly has significant impact. In addition to the potential effects mentioned above, blue light may also increase cancer risk as well as have possible connections to diabetes and obesity.

Because of its harmful potential, in addition to wearing lens tints that block blue light, consider also replacing night lights with dim, red lights to reduce exposure to blue light when trying to sleep, avoiding television and computer screens an hour or two before bed, and getting more natural light during the day to help regulate the body’s natural rhythms.

Finding ways to regulate exposure to blue light may not only help you sleep better, preserve eyesight and stabilize mood, it may also go a long way in benefiting overall wellness and longevity. Take time today to assess your situation to determine if blue light may be having a significant impact on your health.

New Year’s Eye Safety Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions abound this time of year, covering every aspect of improving yourself from eating and fitness to organizing and relationships. Yet, even though about 2,000 workers a day suffer eye injury requiring medical treatment and about 125,000 eye injuries involving eyewash-stationcommon household activities take place yearly, rarely does anyone include an improved approach to eye safety in their resolution list.

Even if you don’t make it one of your resolution goals, at least resolve to focus on the basics of eye safety in the coming year. Basic eye safety includes:

  • Consistently wearing sunglasses with UV protection, even on cloudy days.
  • Making sure safety glasses or goggles are always readily available.
  • Getting an eye exam if you have not done so in the last couple of years.

To go even more in-depth with eye safety in 2014, consider carrying out a simple Eye Safety Audit both at home and at work. The basic assessment below, along with the additional resources that follow, exists to help you do just that.

Basic Eye Safety Audit

A Basic Eye Safety Audit doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. The four steps listed below won’t take long to complete but can go a long way in ensuring good eye health in 2014 and beyond.

  1. Assess: Take stock of your current approach to eye safety. Is appropriate protective eyewear readily available to fit the most common situations and individuals involved? Is the eyewear cared for properly? Is there a safety plan in place to prevent accidents? Is there an emergency plan in place? Has everyone been properly educated regarding eyewear safety, proper care of protective eyewear and appropriate emergency action?
  2. Evaluate: Take your assessment from Step 1 and ask these questions. Is additional appropriate eyewear needed? Is a safety plan needed? Or, does the current safety plan need revised? Is the plan written down? Does everyone know about the plan? What about the emergency plan should an accident occur?
  3. Plan: Make a list of the products needing purchased. Make a list of information needed for a comprehensive safety plan. Use the resources below to help create a safety plan and/or emergency plan.
  4. Implement: Go to Safetyglasses USA, with categories to help find the product to best meet your needs, to purchase the necessary safety eyewear. Finalize your eye safety and emergency plans as well as purchase the necessary items (such as emergency eyewash kits and posters) for each plan to be carried out effectively.

To help implement this Basic Eye Safety Audit, we’ve compiled a list of resources that provide the information necessary to protect your eyes and the eyes of those in our life.

Eye Safety Resources

Eye Injury Prevention: A Quick and Easy Approach

Sun Safety: What to Do Before, During & After Sun Exposure

A Lesson from Anderson Cooper: Your Eyes CAN Get Sunburned

Eye Injury Misconceptions

Take Time to Focus on Eye Health & Safety

Be Eye Safety Conscious: 5 Ways to Prevent Common Eye Irritations

A Serious Reality: Workplace Eye Safety Compliance

5 Tips for Promoting Workplace Safety

Eye Emergencies: Do You Know What to Do?

How to Clean Your Safety Glasses

Workplace Safety: Have You Learned from the Past?

Think Your Organization is One of the Safest in America?

Taking just a few minutes to read through these articles may provide the knowledge needed to help avoid becoming a part of the 2,000 workers daily or 125,000 individuals yearly outside of work receiving eye injuries that require medical attention not to mention the many now having to live with permanent eye damage.