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Workers urged to consider their eye-related wellbeing during March

While most of us associate the month of March with the much-welcomed end of another long winter and, of course, Saint Patrick's Day, a prominent medical association wants us to start associating it with an important health issue: prevention of work-related eye injuries.

Indeed, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is now urging all workers -- regardless of whether they earn a living in a blue-collar or a white-collar profession -- to start making eye health part of their work wellness practices during the next 31 days.

In the event you question the need for such an initiative, consider the following statistics:

  • Roughly 2,000 workers here in the U.S. suffer some manner of eye injury necessitating medical treatment every day, and as much as 90 percent of these eye injuries could have been prevented had these workers been wearing the necessary eye protection
  • From eye strain to vision loss, eye injuries cost over $300 million per year in compensation, treatment and lost productivity
  • 40 percent of workplace eye injuries occur in the manufacturing, construction and mining industries

As for what workers can do to protect themselves, the AAO offers the following tips:

  • Workers in sectors requiring manual labor must wear eyewear that is approved by the American National Standards Institute, OSHA complaint and suitable for their line of work (i.e., it protects against the hazards they are likely to encounter)
  • Workers in office settings should keep computer screens at least 25 inches away and abide by the 20-20-20 rule, meaning giving their eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object situated 20 feet away for 20 seconds
  • Workers in all sectors should ensure that the environmental lighting is set to healthy levels

Always remember to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options regarding workers' compensation benefits if you suffered some manner of debilitating injury on the job.

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