According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), thousands of people in the U.S. suffer eye injuries while on the job and will require medical attention. While most of these injuries are attributed to small particles like dust or wood chips hitting the eye, other injuries can result from a sharp object penetrating the eye or blunt force trauma, which can cause permanent vision loss or even the loss of an eye. Workers in other industries, such as health care, face the risk of coming in contact with an infectious disease if proper precautions aren’t taken.
As March is Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month, now’s the time to remind your patients of how to protect their eyes on the job. Prevent Blindness reports that as many as 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable when the proper protective gear is worn. Below are a few pointers to share with your patients in order keep their eyes safe on the job.
- — Always wear safety glasses or goggles whenever eye hazards are present. If a patient has reduced vision, they should speak with their employer about whether prescription safety glasses or goggles can be provided. Some industries may require the use of other forms of eye protection, including face shields, welding helmets and/or full-face respirators.
- — Remind patients to be aware of the location(s) of the nearest eyewash stations and how and when these should be used.
- — Patients can also take additional steps to prevent job-related eye injuries. These steps can include knowing the eye safety dangers of the job and eliminating hazards before work begins with the use of work screens and other devices.
And while it may seem obvious, remind patients that if they suffer an eye injury – no matter how small it may seem – to report it to their employer right away so that they can receive proper treatment, and safety procedures can be reviewed and revised if necessary.
Additionally, some industries may require a comprehensive eye exam before an individual can begin a certain job. Other requirements may include routine eye exams to make sure their vision meets what’s needed for the job. If you know of a patient whose job requires regular eye exams, use this time to remind them to schedule their next appointment.
No comprehensive eye exam is complete without ultra-widefield (UWF) retinal imaging. Visit the Optos website to learn more about our UWF retinal imaging devices and how we can help you see, diagnose and treat more patients in 2014.