Eye injuries and diseases can result from any type of work, but they are more common for people employed in certain industries.
If you experience an on-the-job eye injury or infection, you may qualify for workers’ compensation.
How eye injuries occur
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day in America, roughly 2,000 workers experience job-related eye injuries that require treatment. About a third of those with eye issues receive emergency room care, and many of them have to take time off from work. Most eye injuries result from dust, metal slivers, cement or wood chips striking or scraping the eye. Penetration from nails, staples or metal slivers also occurs and may cause loss of vision.
How eye diseases develop
Exposure to droplets from sneezing, coughing or touching the eyes with a contaminated object or finger can cause a minor soreness or reddening. However, the transmission of contamination can also result in a serious disease including various forms of virus infections.
How you can prevent harm to your eyes
People who work in manufacturing or construction are most at risk for eye injuries or diseases. Eye protection is advisable and, depending on the type of work you do, may include goggles, safety glasses, face shields or full-face respirators. Whatever eye protection you choose should provide the appropriate coverage and the necessary level of comfort. If the kind of work you do puts eye safety at risk, your employer should ensure the highest level of workplace safety and determine what constitutes the most favorable eye protection for you and your fellow workers.
How to proceed with an eye issue
Even if the issue with your eye seems minor, report it to your supervisor. If you fail to do so, you could jeopardize your chance to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Your eyesight is precious, and if you try to work through the pain or discomfort you feel, you risk causing further damage. Your well-being is a priority, so seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible.