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Workplace Eye Safety: Your Job, Your Eyes

 Some of us are in work environments that include chemicals, flying bits of debris or moving machinery that could injure our eyes. 

Keely Rowe

March is Save Your Vision Month, and right now I want you to take a few minutes and think about your workplace setting.

Others may notice their eyes being affected by office ventilation systems, overhead lighting or extended time on a computer.  All of us face issues every day that affect our vision and eye health because potential hazards can be found everywhere.  The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to have an annual eye exam from your optometrist.  Undiagnosed vision issues can lead to accidents and eye fatigue.  But after you have visited your optometrist, what’s next?  Taking a few precautions or modifying your workspace will go a long way in protecting those peepers.

Dr. John Smay, one of the optometrist at Vision Source Midwest City told me the number one comment he hears when someone comes in with a workplace eye injury is “I always wear my safety glasses, except this one time.”  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, three out of every five workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident.  Don’t be a statistic.  Wear your safety eyewear at all times while you are on the job.

Those of us who work in an office environment or in front of computers have other factors we must consider.

How far away is my computer screen?  Am I wearing the right eye glasses for the job I am doing?  Am I blinking enough?  That last one might seem funny, but studies show that people do not blink as much as they need to while working on a computer.  Not blinking causes the eyes to become dry which leads to irritable eyes and blurry vision.

Incorporate the 20-20-20 rule for yourself:  Every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  Your computer screen should be around 24 inches from your eyes, and the best color combination for our eyes is black text on a white background. Experiment with the size of the text on your screen until you find one that works well for you. Consider using an anti-glare screen on your computer monitor if you do not already have one.

Most of our parents and grandparents had one or two pair of glasses.  Maybe they wore one pair for every day, and had an old pair they worked in the yard in.  In today’s world with our ever-changing technology, one pair of eyeglasses just doesn’t cut it.  Most of us need a special pair of computer eye glasses suited for our work environment. Your optometrist or Vision Source staff member can help you find the best eyewear for all your needs.

Taking a few extra steps can help protect you from emergency doctor visits, headaches, eye strain and make your day at the office a more enjoyable and productive one.  

Keely Rowe is currently the Director of Marketing at The Worx Company in Oklahoma City. Prior to that, she was the Marketing Coordinator at Vision Source Midwest City­. 

Author Keely Rowe — Published March 3, 2014

Posted In Eye Health Awareness, Eye Safety