March has been designated as “Workplace Eye Wellness Month” by the advocacy group Prevent Blindness in an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the importance of eye injury prevention at the workplace. Over one million Americans have lost total or partial vision due to a workplace eye injury.
Direct Contact Injuries
Over 2,000 workers suffer an injury to the eye each day. The majority of these injuries result from flying objects, tools, or debris coming into direct contact with the eye. Other workers face the risk of infection due to exposure to illness through the eye. The use of work screens, safety googles, machine barriers, full frontal respirators, welding helmets, and face shields could minimize these risks. Eye health advocates suggest that over 90 percent of workplace eye injuries could be prevented by the use of proper eye protection.
Dangers of Blue Light
Blue light, with its shorter wavelengths and increased energy amounts, can be especially dangerous to workers. Excessive exposure to blue light on a daily basis can result in increased eyestrain, difficulty focusing the eyes, sore or irritated eyes, and damage to the retina. When these symptoms worsen, serious vision problems such as macular degeneration or cataracts can develop.
Some of the most common sources of blue light include:
- Television screens
- Computer monitors
- Smart phones
- Tablets (including Kindle, Ipads, and other electronic readers)
Individuals can spend over eight hours a day in front of blue light screens as part of their normal work day. Studies show almost 90 percent of workers use digital devices longer than two hours each day. More than half of survey respondents use two digital devices at the same time, doubling their exposure to blue light. Medical research continues to indicate such large amounts of screen time may be causing serious eye problems in many individuals.
Promoting Eye Health in the Workplace
Employers are encouraged to promote eye health at the workplace throughout March. By providing protective eye equipment and covers for digital devices integrated with blue light technology, employers can reduce a worker’s exposure to its dangers.
Workers are encouraged to schedule routine visits with an eye care professional as part of their overall health maintenance. With the use of eye hazard assessment, employers and employees together can safely monitor blue light exposure. Employee training through the Prevent Blindness Work Safety module can provide important information on eye health and symptoms of eye disorders.
Lasting Effects of Eye Injuries
Injuries to the eye can lead to temporary or permanent disability. Workers living with the aftermath of an eye injury can face significant expenses including the costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and lost wages due to an inability to work. When an eye injury is caused by direct contact with flying objects or blue light exposure at the workplace, injured workers may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Workers with Eye Injuries
Eye injuries resulting from workplace accidents can result in significant financial burdens for injured workers and their families. At Chappell Smith & Arden P.A. our experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers are dedicated to helping injured workers throughout South Carolina obtain the maximum amount of compensation for their injuries. To arrange a free consultation today, call us at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 or submit an online inquiry form.
From our six office locations we represent workers across the state, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.