March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. To encourage good eye health in the workplace, Prevent Blindness offers free information to both employers and employees, covering various topics such as eye strain and safety in industrial environments.
Eye injuries are a common workplace hazard, with over 15,000 eye injuries reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020. Prevent Blindness recommends that employers provide appropriate eye and face protection to their workers, depending on the hazards in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to ensure the safety of their employees in the work environment and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary.
In addition to workplace hazards, extended digital screen use is also a risk factor for eye strain, causing symptoms such as sore or irritated eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Prevent Blindness suggests reducing screen time and taking frequent breaks to rest the eyes. Other recommendations include using screen filters, anti-reflective lenses, and intraocular lenses (IOLs) that can protect the eyes from blue light.
“Practicing eye healthy habits in the workplace today, like wearing proper eye protection, and decreasing the amount of screen time whenever possible, can help save our sight now and for years to come,”Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.
Here are the recommendations for promoting eye health:
- Try to decrease the amount of time spent in front of screens and take frequent breaks to rest your eyes.
- Use screen filters for smartphones, tablets, and computer screens to decrease the amount of blue light reaching your eyes.
- Consider using anti-reflective lenses that reduce glare and increase contrast while blocking blue light from the sun and digital devices.
- After cataract surgery, consider an intraocular lens (IOL) that can protect the eye and retina from blue light.
For more information about workplace eye health topics, including the effects of prolonged digital screen use, and eye injuries, please visit preventblindness.org.