5 Facts Your Patients Should Know About Protective Eyewear


  • As an optometrist, you can help your patients understand the importance of protective eyewear as an essential part of routine vision care.
  • Educate your patients on protective eyewear by sharing facts and statistics about workplace eye injuries. 
  • Providing tips and educational resources to your patients through emails and texts can provide crucial information to help them care for their eye health.

During Workplace Eye Wellness Month this March, educate your patients about the benefits of wearing protective eyewear to prevent eye injuries at work. Sharing facts about workplace eye injuries and helping them choose protective eyewear for different work environments can help your patients maintain their eye health.

Workplace Eye Injuries

Each day, around 2,000 American workers sustain eye injuries on the job. These injuries can result in life-changing vision impairment and extensive medical treatment for workers and lost revenue due to reduced productivity for employers.

Providing your patients with important facts about occupational eye injuries can help them learn how to protect their eyes and stay safe at work.

1. Most Eye Injuries Result From Small Particles

While workplace eye injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, small particles are a leading cause of eye injuries in many industries, including construction and manufacturing.

Small particles, such as dust, metal shavings, and wood chips, can scratch the eye’s surface, causing corneal abrasions or lacerations. Objects such as nails or staples can penetrate the eye, causing more severe injuries or blindness.

2. Eye Diseases Are Caused By Direct Exposure

Direct exposure to certain substances or conditions can cause eye diseases. For example, exposure to UV radiation from the sun can increase the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Similarly, exposure to chlorine, ammonia, or perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) can cause vision impairment, severe eye irritation, or even chemical burns.

3. Around 20,000 Workplace Eye Injuries Occur Each Year

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 20,000 eye injuries occur on the job each year. In 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, there were 27,450 eye injuries.

This accounted for 62% of facial injuries and 37% of all head injuries that resulted in missed work days. The severity of these injuries can vary, from minor eye strain to more severe trauma that can lead to permanent damage, vision loss, and even blindness.

4. Eye Injuries Cost $300 Million in Worker Compensation

Eye injuries impact more than the victims; occupational eye injuries can reduce workplace productivity, reducing companies’ bottom lines.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that workplace eye injuries cost around $300 million annually for medical treatment, worker compensation, and decreased productivity.

5. 10% to 20% of Workplace Eye Injuries Result in Vision Loss

Eye injuries in the workplace range from minor irritation to severe lacerations. Unfortunately, approximately 10-20% of all eye injuries cause permanent vision loss. Many instances of vision loss due to eye injuries could have been prevented by using protective eyewear and seeking early treatment.

working with machinery

The Importance of Protective Eyewear at Work

According to the CDC, there were 1,795 non-fatal work-related eye injuries in 2020.

But donning eye protection at work may prevent 90% of serious eye injuries.

Protective eyewear is essential for those working in industries such as construction and manufacturing, where there is an increased risk of eye injury. Flying debris, like wood chips or metal shavings, can cause serious eye damage, and chemicals or dust particles can lead to long-term eye problems.

Welding or other bright lights can also cause damage to the retina, leading to vision loss. A 2022 study found that phototoxic maculopathy affected 56.67% of welders compared to only 7.78% of non-welders. The study noted that these welders wore goggles as protective equipment rather than specialized PPE.

Workers should wear protective eyewear designed for their industry to prevent workplace eye injuries, such as safety glasses, goggles, face shields, and welding helmets.

As an optometrist, you can help your patients choose the appropriate eyewear for their work environment and understand the need for employer training and safety standards to protect their eye health.

Tips to Share with Your Patients About Protecting Their Eyes at Work

To raise awareness about Workplace Eye Wellness Month and help your patients care for their eyes year-round, you can share tips on how to protect their eyes at work, including:

  • Wear appropriate protective eyewear for the job and work environment.
  • Inspect and maintain protective eyewear regularly to ensure its effectiveness.
  • Use eye wash stations or first-aid kits to rinse the eyes in case of exposure to chemicals or other hazardous materials.
  • Take breaks and look away from the computer screen or other bright light sources to reduce eye strain.
  • Adjust the brightness and contrast of computer screens to reduce eye fatigue.
  • Use artificial tears to keep eyes lubricated and prevent dryness or irritation.
  • Maintain proper lighting levels in the work area to prevent eye strain or discomfort.
  • Avoid rubbing or touching the eyes with dirty hands, which can lead to infection.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if experiencing any symptoms of eye injury or infection.
  • Follow all safety guidelines and procedures employers provide to reduce the risk of job-related eye injuries.

man looking at a tablet

Give Your Patients Personalized Care with RevolutionEHR

Helping your patients take care of their workplace eye health is essential to your profession as an optometrist. Support your efforts with integrated optometry practice management software from RevolutionEHR. Cloud-based optometry EHR offers automated SOAP notes, billing, and insurance, so you can simplify these tasks and spend more time with patients.

It also provides add-on services like RevConnect, allowing you to send patients HIPAA-compliant texts and emails. This feature can help educate your patients on workplace eyecare and remind them of upcoming appointments in a convenient digital platform.

See How RevolutionEHR Can Revolutionize Your Practice

If you’re ready to see how integrated billing, scheduling, and documentation can boost efficiency at your optometry practice, consider switching to RevolutionEHR. Speak to a RevolutionEHR specialist and book your live demo today to see how a cloud-based optometry EHR can give you the freedom to focus on your patients.

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