Your eyesight is precious, but if you’re like many people, you probably take it for granted. You should know that thousands of American workers suffer from vision loss and blindness every year because of preventable eye injuries sustained in the workplace. As an employee, you have the right to work in a reasonably safe and healthy environment. Consider scheduling a visit to an optical center near Chicago. You can ask an ophthalmologist about the potential eye injury risks at your workplace. You’ll also get some easy-to-follow eye care safety tips to protect your vision.
Identify the Risks of Eye Injuries
A couple of the main causes of eye injuries are airborne particles and chemical exposure. Eye penetration can be caused by objects falling off scaffolds, sparks from welding equipment, and blown sawdust. Other objects may swing into a worker’s eye, such as chains, ropes, and tree limbs. Similarly, chemical eye burns can cause permanent damage, especially if the caustic chemical penetrates to the deeper layers of the eye. Chemical eye injuries can be caused by a variety of substances, including potassium, lye, magnesium, ammonia, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, plaster, and cement.
Reduce Hazards in the Workplace
Identifying the potential causes of eye injuries at your jobsite is the first step toward protecting yourself and other employees. Next, talk to your employer about the safety precautions recommended by your ophthalmologist. Your employer may need to add machine guards, safety screens, and caution flags. High-risk jobsites should have an emergency eyewash station that is fully stocked with sterile eyewash solution. Employers have a responsibility to train each worker to follow safety precautions and to know how to respond when an eye injury does occur.
Wear Protective Eyewear
Protective eyewear can prevent most of all eye injuries that occur in the workplace, but only if it’s worn consistently. Every employee should have access to the appropriate eyewear for a task. These include goggles, face shields, welding helmets, and safety glasses with side shields. All personal protective equipment in the workplace must be OSHA-compliant.
Glaucoma develops when the optic nerve sustains damage. Usually, glaucoma is the result of excessively high levels of intraocular pressure, or eye pressure. It develops slowly, which is why most people diagnosed with glaucoma are older adults. Although glaucoma is a major culprit of blindness in the U.S., there isn’t a cut-and-dry way to prevent it. However, you can talk to an ophthalmologist located in the Chicago area about your risk factors. By knowing your risk factors, your ophthalmologist can help you learn ways of protecting your eyes.
Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly for Exams
When glaucoma is allowed to progress untreated, the vision loss is irreversible. Visit an optical center regularly to get your eyes checked. Your eye doctor will let you know how often you should schedule an exam, based on your individual risk factors. In general, glaucoma tests are recommended every 2 to 4 years before age 40. After age 40, you should be tested for glaucoma more frequently. Early detection of this vision problem allows for early treatment, which can slow the progression of vision loss.
Wear Protective Eyewear
Some people develop glaucoma not because of high intraocular pressure, but because of severe eye injuries that damage the optic nerve. These include injuries from caustic chemicals and flying projectiles. Ophthalmologists strongly recommend wearing protective eyewear whenever you’re doing a high-risk activity. These include using power equipment like chainsaws, mowing the lawn, doing carpentry work, and playing sports. Eye injuries can also occur from activities that aren’t generally seen as dangerous, such as using chemical cleaners in the kitchen.
Lead an Active Lifestyle
It’s thought that exercising regularly may help lower the pressure in the eyes . Researchers do not think that exercise has a lasting protective effect. In other words, exercise may only help if you continue to do it throughout your lifetime. Experts recommend moderate exercise at least 3 times per week. If you do yoga, try to avoid poses that invert your body. Headstands may increase your intraocular pressure.
Cataracts usually develop very slowly. These cloudy areas of the eye’s lens cause blurry vision, double vision, and sensitivity to light. When your symptoms start to interfere with your daily life, it’s time to visit a cataract surgeon near Chicago. During your cataract procedure, the cloudy lens will be removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL). This lens is a flexible, synthetic lens that functions just like a natural, healthy lens would. It receives light and focuses it on the retina at the back of the eye. This allows your brain to receive images via the optic nerve.
Your cataract surgeon can walk you through the types of IOLs available to you. He or she might suggest an aspheric IOL, which mimics the natural variations in the curve of the eye’s lens. This could help you enjoy sharper vision. On the other hand, your ophthalmologist may recommend a toric IOL if you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. This lets you see things clearly, without the blurriness that astigmatism causes.
Many of the emergency visits to ophthalmology offices near Chicago are
the result of eye injuries. Power tools, lawn mowers, and sports activities are all common causes
of serious eye trauma. When you watch this featured video, you’ll
hear an ophthalmologist explain that about 90% of eye injuries could be
prevented simply by wearing protective eyewear.
Talk to your eye doctor about the type of protective eyewear that’s
right for you. Some types are designed specifically to protect the eyes
of athletes, while others are better suited to yard work or a construction
site. If you typically wear eyeglasses instead of contact lenses, you
can get your protective goggles customized to your vision prescription
for greater convenience.