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Advocacy group urges office workers to focus on eye safety

Prevent Blindness America -- an organization "dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight" -- has officially designated March "Workplace Eye Wellness Month." This makes sound sense when you consider all the vision hazards that those men and women who earn their living in industrial settings face on a daily basis (sparks, shards, hazardous chemicals, dust, flying debris, etc.) and their real need for protective eyewear.

However, it must be noted that Prevent Blindness America is not only using Workplace Eye Wellness Month as a platform to raise awareness about eye injuries in the industrial sector, but in the office sector as well.

According to the organization, the legions of office workers who rely on a bevy of electronic tools to help them complete their work -- computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. -- are at an elevated risk of eyestrain.

As if this wasn't concerning enough, the American Optometric Association has indicated that office workers who stare at computer screens for too long may even develop a more serious condition known as "Computer Vision Syndrome," which is marked by severe eye/vision problems. Symptoms typically include everything from neck pain and shoulder pain to headaches and blurred vision.

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that office workers can take to help prevent the onset of eyestrain and more serious conditions like Computer Vision Syndrome:

  • Ensure that computer monitors are roughly 20-26 inches away from your eyes and positioned slightly below eye level
  • Change lighting or adjust shades to help lower glare and reduce reflections; consider the installation of an anti-glare filter on your screen
  • Use a document holder positioned next to your computer screen so that you don't have to look away and constantly readjust your focus
  • Utilize computer monitors that are capable of swiveling and tilting
  • Use a desk chair with an adjustable height

"We want to help to remind employees and employers of the benefits of taking care of our eyesight," said Hugh Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. "By keeping our eyes healthy, we can become more productive and save on healthcare costs."

Please visit our workers' compensation page to learn more about your rights and your options in the event of a serious workplace accident.

Source: Prevent Blindness America, "Keeping the eyes healthy at work," Jen Wieczner, Feb. 28, 2013

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