By Vogel Bros. Safety Department

When it comes to workplace safety, there is a lot of focus on protecting employees from falls, slips, trips, sprains, strains and tears. But one of the hazards that doesn’t get talked about as much is protecting one’s eyes and vision.

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states the most important thing you can do to protect your vision at work is to always wear appropriate protective eyewear, which can prevent more than 90 percent of serious eye injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection. Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and worker’s compensation. OSHA has a free online tool that provides compliance assistance information to employers and employees, and gives recommendations for types of eye and face protection based on your workplace exposures.

But it isn’t just employees on job sites who risk damage to their eyes or vision. The American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2016 American Eye-Q® survey revealed that 88 percent of Americans know that digital devices can negatively affect their vision, but the average American still spends seven or more hours per day looking at their screens. As part of their 2017 “Save Your Vision Month” campaign, the AOA wants to remind people to keep in mind the following tips while using digital screens at home or at work:

  • Power down before you turn in: Turn your digital devices off at least one hour before bed.
  • Unplug with the AOA 20-20-20 rule: When you are using any device or computer, make a conscious effort every day to take a 20-second break, look away from the screen every 20 minutes, and view something 20 feet away.
  • Step back: Maintain a comfortable working distance from your digital device by using the zoom feature to see small print and details, rather than bringing the device closer to your eyes.

This month, let’s all take a little more time to focus our sights on caring for our vision, both at work and at home. Your eyes will thank you!