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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!

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.

Promoting Children’s Eye Health

Kids are back to school with all the necessary supplies. Fall sports are underway with all the required gear. It’s a positive start to the school year, ready to be the best one yet.Children's Safety Glasses

To make sure that happens, take time to consider your children’s eye health too since roughly 80% of what a child learns in school is information presented visually. Add to this the fact that there are 42,000 sports-related eye injuries each year, and the majority of them happen to children.

For these reasons, take time to promote good eye health for your children.

10 Ways to Promote Good Eye Health for Your Child

  1. See the pediatrician yearly. Experts agree that eye exams performed during well-child visits help detect problems with a child’s eye health, allowing for early treatment.
  2. Consider family history. Since nearsightedness, color blindness, and lazy eye (amblyopia) are often inherited, consider family history when assessing your children’s vision health.
  3. Get an eye exam before 1st grade. More than 12 million children suffer from vision impairment, that’s 25% of school-aged children with vision problems. Get your child’s first eye exam before entering 1st grade & then regularly after to help detect & treat impairments early.
  4. Let go of common myths. Sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes and eating a lot of carrots will improve your eyesight are common myths about children’s eye health. Educate yourself about Children’s Eye Health Myths and Facts to make sure your efforts are focused in the best way possible.
  5. Understand the relationship between vision & learning. While the more obvious signs of vision problems in children, such as not being able to see the chalkboard, are usually detected fairly easily, learning-related vision problems often are not. Realizing that a child struggling in school may have a learning-related vision problem may be the key some parents need to truly helping their children succeed. Take time to understand types of learning-related vision problems and their symptoms, especially if your child seems to be struggling with no obvious reason why.
  6. Remember sports safety. Since the majority of sports-related eye injuries happen to children, wearing protecting eyewear while participating in sports or recreational activities is a must. Make sure safety eyewear fits the child and the activity properly.
  7. Make sure kids wear sunglasses. Dr. Mark Borchert, division head of The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital LA says, “The lens of a child allows 70% more UV rays to reach the retina than in an adult. Learn the basics of sun safety to protect not only your child’s skin but eyes as well.
  8. Encourage a healthy diet. The best ways to do this include setting a good health example and make healthy options available at home, especially vegetables and dark leafy greens that contain many eye-healthy vitamins and minerals. In addition, talk to your doctor about a good multivitamin for children.
  9. Promote safety around the home. The Importance of Good Eye Safety Habits becomes clear when you realize that 45% of eye injuries happen in the home with many of those happening to children. Take time to be safe while working and playing at home, and this begins with having safety glasses available for everyone.
  10. Be aware of symptoms of vision problems. From poor performance in school and difficulty paying attention to headaches, eye pain and trouble seeing information on a chalk board, knowing the common symptoms of vision problems in children as well as their associated disorders can go a long way in detecting and treating problems early.

Children can’t always tell if there is something wrong with their eyes. They simply accept what they see as normal. Having parents who educate themselves on children’s eye health is important for detecting and treating vision problems early. In addition, taking steps to ensure good eye health through diet and safety measures adds another level of protection for a lifetime of healthy vision.