Workplace Eye Wellness Month

/ 19/03/2012 /

The month of March has an abundance of health observances, with some of which are being nationally recognized. During this month Re:sourxe would like to take the time to help spread awareness for one such observance: Workplace Eye Wellness Month.

The workplace can be a dangerous place for the eyes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 25,230 reported eye injuries in just one calendar year that required time away from work. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide workers with suitable eye protection, sight-threatening accidents still occur.    

It may seem easy to disregard such statistics as a general healthcare professional, but it is important to remember that there is more to preventing injuries to the eye than the average pair of safety goggles.

Many of the injuries workers suffer currently are not the typical eye injuries of the past.  For instance, nearly 46% of Americans spend five or more hours per day using a computer or a personal digital assistant. While technology improves work productivity, the prolonged use of electronic devices may lead to problems such as eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, fatigue, blurred vision, and loss of focus. In light of that fact, here are some helpful hints for maintaining eye health, as recommended by the AOA (American Optometric Association) :

  • Relax Eyes Intermittently: Follow the 20-20 rule. At least every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away. 
  • Font Size: Smaller screens on hand-held devices usually favor small fonts that challenge your vision. Increase the font size so the device can be used at a distance more comfortable for your eyes.
  • Clarity: Good resolution offers superior clarity and allows for less strain.  Keep the brightness of the screen at a comfortable level.
  • Reduce Glare: Try to make sure lighting is not directly behind or in front of your head. Hand-held devices present challenges in various lighting conditions as well.
  • Look Down: It’s easier on the eyes to focus on reading material that is below eye level; therefore, the AOA recommends a computer screen or hand-held device be positioned slightly below eye level.

The cost of an eye injury is immeasurable to a worker who partially or completely loses his or her sight -- and includes a diminished quality of life, lost wages and medical expenses. The employer is also adversely affected as productivity and morale are sacrificed.

For the remainder of this month, make it a habit to introduce one or more of these tips into your working environment. Your eyes will thank you for it, and so will Re:sourxe!

To learn more about Eye Health and Safety visit AOA 
For information about occupational standards and safety visit OSHA