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Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Caution - Safety Glasses RequiredIn order to prevent the over 25,000 eye injuries occurring each year, eye safety must be a daily priority in the workplace. To help in that prevention effort, Prevent Blindness America has declared March to be Workplace Eye Wellness Month as a way to reemphasize the importance of keeping eyes safe while at work.

To that end, let’s look at ways to promote eye wellness in the workplace and thus help reduce the number of eye injuries on the job.

  1. Wear proper eye protection. About 90% of eye injuries in the workplace can be prevented through the wearing of proper eye protection. Do this by first knowing what’s available and then by choosing the best option for your situation.
  2. Follow employer guidelines. OSHA requirements provide clear guidelines for employers, and Promoting Workplace Safety is essential to eye injury prevention. Yet, none of these guidelines and programs matter if individuals fail to follow them.
  3. Keep eye protection clean & clear. Make sure you have Good Habits for Safety Glass Maintenance to help ensure your eye protection is working optimally at all times.
  4. Give your eyes a break. Managing Electronic Display Eye Strain will go a long way in keeping eyes healthy and strong as well as prevent long-term and possibly permanent damage to eyes.
  5. Establish habits. While your employer may and hopefully does have a workplace eye safety program, the health of the eyes is ultimately up to the individual. For this reason, be sure to understand the Importance of Good Eye Safety Habits.

For those wanting to take eye wellness a step further, Prevent Blindness America offers several options including vision screening programs and educational resources.

While not all injuries in the workplace can be prevented, a lot can be done to greatly reduce not only the number of injuries sustained but also the severity of the injuries that do take place. If an eye injury does take place, promote a return to eye wellness by doing the following BEFORE you need to know what to do.

  1. Know what to do when an injury happens. We must all ask the question, “Do you know what to do?” when an eye injury occurs. Take steps to make sure the answer to that question is “Yes!” before you need to know.
  2. Understand the most common causes of injury. Knowing the Most Common Types of Eye Injuries can not only help prevent them, but it can also help in knowing what to do when they happen.

First and foremost, wear eye protection and wear the right eye protection to make sure eyes remain healthy while at work. After that, take steps to educate yourself. Learn the steps for preventing eye injury, and learn what to do when an eye injury happens. Taking these steps will help to ensure that workplace eye wellness is a way of life and not just a once-a-year focus.

5 Most Common Types of Eye Injuries

In the United States, over 2.5 million eye injuries happen every year with 50,000 people actually losing at least part of their vision as a result. Of that 2.5 million, almost 18% are caused by projectile objects, 13% by blunt objects, 10% by body parts (fingers, elbows, fists, etc.), and 9% by sharp objects.

Of the millions of eye injuries that take place each year, almost half of them (44%) occur in the home and 40% during sport activities. The remaining 16% is taken up by miscellaneous injuries and work-related injuries.

So, regardless of location and how the injury happens, what types of injuries happen most frequently? The following are the 5 most common.

  1. Scratched Eye. Most commonly, an eye becomes scratched when a foreign body enters it and the individual then rubs the eye in an attempt to remove the irritation. Eyes also become scratched when they are poked by a foreign body. A scratched eye can become serious very quickly, with a fungal infection for example, so seeing a doctor if there is noEye Protection improvement in a day or two is crucial. In addition, a scratched eye can be worse for individuals who wear contacts.
  2. Chemical Burn. This type of injury can happen when a chemical is splashed into the eye or transferred from an individual’s hands. Fumes and vapors can also cause chemical burn to eyes. Finding out the type of chemical, acid or alkali, is crucial since one (acid) can be washed out more easily than the other (alkali). If eyes become red or blurry or do not improve after 24 hours, see a doctor.
  3. Flash Burn. Burns to the eyes also can come from sources such as sunlight, welding, tanning booths and sunlamps. Protecting eyes against sunburn, Yes, Your Eyes Can Get a Sunburn, and taking precaution in welding and other situations is key to preventing flash burns.
  4. Foreign Object in Eye. An object in the eye often leads to a scratched eye (see #1 above), and can be caused even just by an eyelash, dust, contacts and makeup. While time and eye flushing can remove these objects, when a foreign object, such as a fish hook, actually penetrates the eye, self removal is not a good idea. Instead, getting to a doctor right away is important.
  5. Blow to the Eye. These types of injuries happen often in sports, and the result is usually a swollen, black and blue eye. It’s important to check for additional injury, such as a broken eye socket or internal damage, when a blow to the eye occurs.

Perhaps the most startling fact regarding eye injuries, regardless of type and cause, is that 90% of ALL eye injuries could be prevented by wearing protective eyewear. Yet, only 50% of people wear them when working around the house, which is the most likely place to receive an eye injury.

The second factor crucial in preventing permanent eye damage and vision loss is knowing what to do, and sometimes more importantly what NOT to do, if injury does occur.

The following resource list will help you take these two crucial steps, wearing protective eye wear and being prepared if injury does occur.

Take Time to Focus on Eye Health & Safety

Fishing: A Dangerous Sport?

How to Remember to Wear Sunglasses

UV Protection – Eliminating Excuses

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

Basic Welding Safety

Eye Emergencies: Do You Know What to Do?

Eye Injuries Can Occur at Any Time and in Any Place

Importance of Good Eye Safety Habits

Safety Eyewear and Emergency Eyewash: Prevention and Preparation Matter

Safety Eyewear in the Kitchen: For Adventurous Chefs to Everyday Cooks

Camping Safety

Camping presents a terrific opportunity for spending time with family and friends in the great outdoors. It can also provide a welcome break from the hustle, bustle and technology of life. Yet, even in this simple environment, so much can go awry when one is unprepared. And for such a simple get-away, there is a lot to prepare.

The CDC provides some great information on Camping Health and Safety Tips along with a Packing Checklist that can help prepare you for your next camping trip. Campsafe.org also provides some terrific information on camping safety, because “it’s fun until someone gets hurt. Let’s keep it fun.”

And there certainly a lot of ways a fun camping trip can be ruined, whether through injury caused by carelessness or by happenstance. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, in 2007, more than 11,000 people required medical treatment for a camping injury, and these numbers don’t include those injured while using cots, trailers, stoves, and other camping equipment.

The most common camping injuries include bug bites, cuts, scrapes, burns and broken bones. For our focus today, let’s look at common camping injuries related specifically to the eyes.

  1. Foreign Object in Eye. A speck of debris or a branch in the eye is a common cause of eye injury when camping. Usually, an eye wash with a sterilized eye-wash cup takes care of the problem, but moisturizing eye drops can do the trick as well. If the problem persists, medical attention is necessary.
  2. Sun Exposure. Since camping takes place outdoors, a lot of time is spent in the sun. Most people fail to realize that the sun damages the eye in much the same way that it damages our skin. For this reason, wear quality sunglasses that protect against at least 99% of the sun’s harmful rays when camping.
  3. Fire. One of the best parts about camping is sitting around the campfire. Unfortunately, the campfire can also be a source of eye injury, often from sparks or ashes that fly through the air and even from smoke getting in the eyes. Prevent problems by not sitting too close to the fire and by being aware of any flying objects coming out of the fire.
  4. Insect Bites & Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac. These elements seem like a natural part of camping and usually are treated fairly easily with calamine or other lotion. But what happens when they occur in or near the eye? First, keep hands away from eyes to help prevent problems. Second, if exposure does occur, wash the eye with lukewarm water. If exposure happens in the area round the eye, some lotions can be used near the eye and may be useful to stop itching and prevent spreading. For exposure directly in the eye itself, medical attention will likely be necessary if problems persist past this initial treatment.

Certainly, some minor eye injuries can be treated by items in a basic camping first-aid kit. For this reason, be sure to keep a sterilized eye wash cup along with some moisturizing eye drops in your camping first aid kit. But serious injuries, especially injury accompanied by pain, blurred vision or loss of vision, need immediate medical attention.

Keep camping fun and safe by having the necessary and proper equipment, keeping a well-stocked and up-to-date first aid kit, and being aware of the necessities needed to ensure a safe camping trip.