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Improving eye health and safety in workplaces

Every day, nearly 2,000 people reportedly suffer a severe eye injury that necessitates medical attention. With the fact that nine out of 10 of these incidents might have been avoided had the employee been wearing eye protection, it is important that Pennsylvania employees and their employers take steps to improve eye safety and health. For this reason, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has designated the month of March to educate the public about eye protection.

Each year, occupational eye injuries, ranging from simple eye strains to severe injuries that could result in blindness, vision loss or permanent damage, cost employers more than $300 million in compensation, treatment and productivity. Those especially vulnerable to suffering eye injuries are miners, construction workers and people who work in the manufacturing industry. In fact, nearly 50 percent of work-related eye injuries occur to those who work in these three fields.

Employees who work long hours staring at computer screens are also susceptible to eye injuries, such as eyestrains, headaches and fatigue. They are prone to suffer red and dry eyes due to the fact that digital displays cut a person's blink rate nearly in half. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the 20-20-20 rule for office workers: every 20 minutes, they should break to relax their eyes by focusing for 20 seconds on objects 20 feet away. Further, computer screens should be about 25 inches away from workers' eyes, and it can help to increase the computer's font size and adjust the screen's glare. Eye staining can also be reduced when office environments have sufficient lighting.

Employees who suffer a severe eye injury or other various workplace injuries have a right to file for workers' compensation benefits. Those who are denied these benefits might want to discuss their situation with a local, experienced law firm. Source: Facility Executive, "Eye Protection Can Prevent 90 Percent Of Work-Related Eye Injuries", February 28, 2017

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