According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, each year, nearly 25,000 Americans visit the emergency room due to a workplace eye injury. About one third of the injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments, and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days away from work.
Primary causes of on-the-job eye injuries include:
- Striking or scraping: Small particles or objects striking or scraping the eye, such as: dust, cement chips, metal slivers, and wood chips. Large objects may also strike the eye or face, or a worker may run into an object causing blunt-force trauma to the eyeball or eye socket.
- Penetration: Objects like nails, staples, or slivers of wood or metal can go through the eyeball and result in a permanent loss of vision.
- Chemical and thermal burns: Industrial chemicals or cleaning products are common causes of chemical burns to one or both eyes. Thermal burns to the eye also occur, often among welders.
Preventing Workplace Eye Injuries
- Wear the appropriate safety glasses, goggles and face shields to protect your eyes and face.
- Wear sunglasses when working outside to protect your eyes from the sunlight and UV rays.
- Wash your hands after working and any time before touching your face.