April 5, 2019

How You Can Look After Your Eyes at Work

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Read the full NZ Herald article here

Work can be dangerous, and that's especially true for our soft balls of vision in our skulls. Our eyes are vulnerable to immediate physical hazards, as well as slow degradation from staring at screens for too long. While there's no getting out of work, you can definitely escape its ill effects on your eyes with a little foresight and a few safety precautions.

Take stock of these tips to see how you should be keeping your eyes safe during your work shift, whatever it is you do.

Remove hazards where possible

When you work in a site that utilises power tools and other direct, physical hazards that could threaten your eyes, the first step is to avoid as many of these hazards as possible. Machine guards can be used, as well as screening off dangerous work areas, but the best, most effective measure is to wear protective safety glasses. Protection is essential to avoid potentially blinding accidents.

Use eye protection

Eye protection is required PPE (personal protective equipment) for a range of worksites where eye hazards are present, such as corrosive chemicals, hot substances, machines, flying wood and metal chips. These are just some of the many workplaces hazards you need to be wearing goggles around. Safety glasses are made of strong plastics or polycarbonates which are much tougher than your regular specs, so if you normally wear prescription glasses, you'll need to get special prescription safety glasses made out of the right material. Your employer will usually cover the cost of these prescription safety glasses for you. When dust or chips are flying around, your glasses will need side guards. And if you're doing especially dangerous tasks like welding, you'll need a full-face shield.

Be hygienic

It's not just acute hazards you need to be looking out for in the workplace. You could be exposed to pathogens (bacteria or viruses) which can cause infections upon contact with your eyes. any time you touch substances which could harbour microorganisms, you need to be thinking about hand hygiene. Infections pass from your hands to your eyes when you rub them, so keep your hands clean and wash them correctly and using hand sanitiser on regular occasions.

Be wary of your computer screen

Of course, you could b working in an office, far away from any of the hazards mentioned above. However, that doesn't mean your eyes don't need looking after. Looking at computer screens for long periods of time has led many people to experience eye fatigue, which in turn leads to a host of other problems, including headaches, blurred vision, and pain in and around the eyes.

If your work requires prolonged screen time, you should make a conscious effort to blink fully more often and take frequent monitor breaks. You can also reduce the brightness of your screen, or download an app like Flux which will reduce the colour temperature and glare of your monitor - that means it makes the screen light less blue and more yellow, which is lower energy light that puts less strain on your eyes. This change in screen colour can be particularly useful at night to encourage more normal production of the sleep hormone melatonin, to help you enjoy better sleep after screen-viewing late into the night.

Can't see what you're working on?

If your vision isn't up to scratch, you'll have trouble seeing what you're supposed to at work and this could lead to unsafe behaviours. Put simply, if there are hazards at work, you need to be able to see them. We're the eye specialists in Auckland that you can trust with your vision. Our qualified and dedicated doctors perform a range of procedures from cataract removals to laser vision treatment, so whether you're suffering problems from a work-related injury or you've got more general issues, contact us to find out how we can help you.

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