Each day, thousands of workers injure their eyes severely enough to need medical intervention. While eye protection safety is a must in the workplace, reminding your employees to keep up with eye exams and limiting tech time can also keep their eyes healthy, too.
This post covers how workers can protect their eyes, including eye protection, foods that promote eye health, eye exams, and more.
What is Healthy Vision Month?
May is Healthy Vision Month, an opportunity for employers to encourage their employees to get their annual comprehensive dilated eye exam to check for common eye problems.
Since many individuals decided to forego annual check-ups last year due to pandemic lockdowns, they may have missed their annual eye exam. Remind employees it’s time to get their eyes checked this month.
Additionally, this year’s theme is Eye on Health Equity. The National Eye Institute (NEI) is focusing on the importance of increasing diversity in the eye health field — and how that can help everyone have an equal chance for healthy vision.
Why Eye Protection Safety Matters at Work
Each day, around 2,000 U.S. workers severely injure their eyes enough to require medical treatment, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Of those cases, about a third require ER care and over 100 of these cases result in 1 or more days off of work.
How do these eye injuries happen?
- Striking or scraping: Most eye injuries are from small particles or objects striking or scraping the eye like dust, cement chips, metal slivers, and wood chips.
- Penetration: Think safety glasses are optional? Workers need them in order to protect their eyes from flying nails, staples, or metal that can hit the eye and cause permanent vision loss.
- Burns: Industrial chemicals or cleaning products often result in eye burns. These burns can damage the eyes and surrounding tissues.
By keeping workers updated on eye protection safety measures, it can keep them safe and prevent serious workplace injuries. Leadership can also get into the habit of conducting regular hazard assessments to see where additional safety training requirements may be needed.
Eye Protection Safety Tips to Share With Your Team
When your employees take care of their eyes, they’re taking care of their overall health. Individuals who suffer from vision issues are more likely than those with good vision to have health concerns like lower back pain, strokes, high blood pressure, and heart problems, according to the Vision Health Initiative website.
Here are some eye safety tips everyone can benefit from:
- Regular eye exams are a must - An annual eye exam can help employees identify potential eye diseases that could result in damaged vision. As an eye protection measure, remind your team once a quarter about the importance of eye exams.
- Wear goggles - When working with any type of chemicals, goggles are essential for keeping eye protected.
- Wear all essential gear - Sometimes safety goggles aren’t enough. Wear special-purpose safety glasses, faceshields or helmets designed for heavy-duty machinery tasks like welding.
- Use protective eye gear for computer use - Construction and trades employees aren’t the only ones at risk for eye issues. Employees who work on computers daily also need to protect their eyes. Blue-light blocking glasses and screens can minimize eye strain.
- Do eye exercises - Regular computer users — or even cell phone users — can benefit from eye exercises and breaks from tech. Staring too long at a screen can cause headaches and dry eyes.
Ways to Promote Healthy Vision Month
With some reminders, you can help your staff stay safe and keep their eyes healthy. Why not do it during a month when you have access to plenty of free marketing materials?
Here’s a look at how to promote healthy vision in the workplace:
- Share eye protection safety tips - Share the above tips with employees via email. You can also check out the National Eye Institute (NEI) website for shareable graphics and social media messages.
- Give away sunglasses - Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement; they can help eyes stay healthy! Giveaway sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection against UV rays. Glasses don’t need to be expensive, either, to get the job done.
- Encourage healthy eating - A healthy diet is linked to good eye health. Certain vitamins are necessary for optimal eye health and can be found in foods like raw red bell peppers, leafy greens, and sunflower seeds.
- Send out an eye exam reminder - Healthy Vision Month is an optimal time to send out eye exam reminders. Benefits reps can also share eyecare benefits and local docs who accept your company’s insurance to make it easier for employees to book their eye exams!
- Distribute healthy vision resources - On a quarterly basis, consider sharing NEI’s valuable vision resources to help employees learn how to protect their eye health.
- Host an eye doc - Have a local eye doc come into your workplace for a lunch and learnevent to provide eye protection training and education. Working remotely? Host them via Zoom or another video conferencing platform.
By promoting regular eye exams and eye protection safety, employees are less likely to deal with eye issues or injuries on the job. Healthy Vision Month is a prime opportunity to talk about eye care and protection. We hope you find our tips and facts above helpful in promoting workplace eye safety!
How do you talk about eye protection safety in the workplace? Will your company celebrate Healthy Vision Month? Let us know in the comments below!