Our eyes are what enable us to see the world every day. Sometimes we can take them for granted and stop caring for them, which can lead to problems with our eyes or even worse, with our eyesight. By adhering to a daily eye care regime, you will have not only healthy eyes but also overall good health in general. Your eyes are delicate and require special attention at work or play. Some jobs are more likely to incur an eye injury. From roles in construction, manufacturing, mining, and those performing electrical work, plumbing, welding, maintenance, laboratories to desk jobs that require extended use of computer screens, eye care should be of utmost priority. People working for these sectors are at a higher risk of developing an eye problem/ eye injury. Some of the reasons include: not wearing protective eyewear and the right kind of eyewear required.
Types and causes of eye injuries
Some people require special protection and care as they encounter everyday hazards like overexposure to the UV rays, chemical substances, and foreign particles. Overexposure to UV rays can cause short and long term effects on the eyes. Short term effects can cause burns to the surface of the eye, similar to the sunburn on the skin, and also damage the internal or external structures of the eye. Long term exposure can contribute to eye problems like macular degeneration, cataracts, and skin cancer around the eyelids. Other causes of injury can be caused due to chemical substances that are toxic in nature. Injuries like splashes arising from grease and oil burns from steam and foreign objects like flying wood or metal chips entering the eye can lead to cuts or scrapes in the cornea or sometimes lead to vision loss.
Healthcare professionals, laboratory technicians, and janitorial staff are more at risk of acquiring infectious diseases. These eye diseases are transmitted through the mucous membranes of the eye as an outcome of exposure to respiratory droplets generated during coughing, or from touching the eyes with contaminated fingers or other objects. For most people, work involves spending prolonged durations looking at digital screens. This causes more stress on our eyes and can lead to irritation and other physical discomforts. Commonly referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome leads to eyestrain, fatigue, and headaches.
How to protect your eyes at work?
Call it unawareness or carelessness, according to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers who suffered eye injuries revealed that nearly three out of five were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. These workers believed that wearing protective eyewear was not required for the situation. It is said that close to 90% of workplace injuries could be avoided if safety eye gear is used effectively, estimates PBA. To prevent vision problems that can become irreversible, it is necessary to follow some safety precautions and measure, some of them are:
• If you are working near harmful radiation (welding, lasers, or fibre optics), you must not forget to wear special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets designed explicitly for that task.
• Besides, if you are a person that works for long stretches on a computer screen, here are some simple fixes for your eyes: Reposition the computer screen at your eye level, use an anti-glare screen, adjust your seating position, maintain right posture with feet resting flat on the floor. Rest your eyes for short intervals .Blinking can reduce the likelihood of developing dry eyes.
How to take care of your eyes daily?
Wear UV-Protected Sunglasses
• UV-rays emitted by the sun can have significant harmful effects on our eyes over time. There are two types of UV rays that affect our vision – UV-A and UV-B.
• We can suffer several diseases and sight problems resulting from exposure to the sun. Some of these diseases include macular degeneration, cataract, pterygium, corneal sunburn and skin cancer.
• By wearing sunglasses which block harmful UV-rays, you can stay safe from the adverse effects caused by them.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Sticking to a healthy and nutritious diet is beneficial for your overall health, and similarly, it is also vital for ensuring the good health of your eyes.
Certain nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, copper, and beta carotene are beneficial in reducing the risk of age-related eyesight problems like macular degeneration.
• Smoking is really bad for your overall health, and it is also very harmful to your eyes.
• Various studies have linked smoking to various eyesight related diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and dry eye syndrome.
Get Regular Eye checkups!
Lastly, to ensure your eyes stay healthy and fresh, remember to get regular eye check-ups done so that any issues with your vision can be detected in its early stages. To avoid eye problems at work, it is essential to schedule regular examinations, wear properly fit protection eyewear at work, and ensure proper maintenance of eyewear (scratch-free lenses and maintain the cleanliness of eye protection)
(Author is Additional Director, Center For Sight)