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May Safety Tip: Eye Safety

By Alexis Eades

It’s the last day of Healthy Vision Month! Your eyes can affect your health, safety, and well-being both on-the-job and at home.

Why should you care about your eye health? 

Some eye conditions such as cataracts (a clouding of the eye) and glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve) can cause vision loss and blindness. Also, eye health may impact your overall health and safety. Did you know that the CDC reports that people with vision problems have increased risk for falls and injury? While this is worth being concerned about anywhere, the risks associated with not seeing correctly may be even higher if you are operating heavy machinery or on a job site where you are unfamiliar with the area you are walking around.

What can you do? 

You can have a comprehensive dilated eye exam to check for common eye problems. This type of exam is where an eye care professional will use drops to widen your pupils. This enables them to check for common vision problems and eye diseases. Not only can an exam help you assess if you need glasses or contacts, they can also detect the early stages of eye-related diseases.

In addition to your comprehensive dilated eye exams, the CDC recommends that you visit an eye care professional if you have decreased vision, any eye pain, drainage or redness of the eye, double vision, floaters (tiny specks that appear to float before your eyes), circles (halos) around light sources; or if you see flashes of light.

Eye Safety For You And Your Family 

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises that all children aged 3 to 5 years go for vision screenings to detect possible amblyopia or lazy eye. These can be treated if caught early. In general, the CDC recommends that everyone get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams and knows their family’s eye health history, especially if anyone has been diagnosed with a hereditary eye disease or condition.

Best practices for eye safety at work? Wear the appropriate protective eyewear at work. In the field, this may look like donning goggles or sunglasses. In an office this may look like wearing blue-light filter glasses. In the field, make sure your sunglasses block 99-100% of both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Last but not least, always wash your hands before taking out contacts. Also to avoid infection, ensure you cleanse your contact lenses properly.

Take this opportunity to take stock of your eye safety practices. What will you improve on today?

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