Many types of jobs, such as industrial and manufacturing, carry a higher risk of work-related eye injuries. Following the established rules for eye protection and being mindful of common threats to your eyes can reduce your chances of serious injury or infection.
Wear The Right Eye Protection
The type of eye protection you need is generally based on the risks associated with the job. For example, if you are a welder, your eye protection should minimize the chance that small projectiles can penetrate your eye wear. Additionally, your eye protection will need some heat-resistance and should be tinted to offer shielding from glowing metal, but still allow you to have full range of vision. When you are selecting protective eye wear, you may need to try on various styles to be sure they fit properly. Your eye wear should fit snug against your face so there are minimal gaps around the top, sides, and bottom. Many industries require additional protection beyond safety glasses, such as goggles or full-face shields.
Practice Good Eye Hygiene
Protecting your eyes does not end when you stop a high-risk task. Be mindful of your behaviors while you are on the job. One risk is touching your eyes. If you feel like there is something in your eye, it is easy to rub your eye with either your bare or gloved hand. You can accidentally transfer debris from your hand to your eye or expose your eye to bacteria. At the start of work, wash your hands thoroughly before you wear your work gloves. If you must touch your eye, you will have clean hands underneath your gloves. Whenever possible, carry sanitizing wipes so you can easily clean your hands in any situation. If you feel like there is something in your eye, it is better to flush your eye with bottled or tap water than touching the area with your hands. Rubbing your eye also increases the risk of moving debris around inside your eye and causing scratches or more irritation.
Consider Other Risks
Many job sites require some form of eye protection even if you are not actively working. Wearing safety glasses continuously while on the job site can be an additional layer of protection, even if it is not required. You must be cognizant of those working around you because debris and projectiles can come from any direction while on the job site. Additionally, wearing eye protection continuously can also reduce the risk of disease transmission if an accident happens. In the event of an accident on the job site, blood can splatter and if it happens to come into contact with your eye, it could lead to disease transmission, such as hepatitis. If you need vision correction, it is better to avoid using contact lenses and choose prescription protective eye wear. Since contact lenses are permeable, if you work around certain chemicals, they can trap gases next to the eye. Also, if you suffer an eye injury, it can be difficult or impossible to remove contact lenses in an emergency.
Protecting your eyes when working in high-risk fields is essential to preserve your vision. Consistently wearing personal protection equipment and having good eye hygiene will keep your risk of eye damage to a minimum.