The way we see involves a complex interplay between light, brain and eye. When light strikes an object in your field of vision, the rays enter each eye and hit the eye’s lens. The rays stimulate the nerves in the lens, which carry messages to the brain. The brain takes the message it receives from each eye’s lens and fuses it into a sharp single picture. Because this mechanism is so complex, it is also extremely vulnerable to injury. Therefore, protecting your eyes from damage at work should be one of your major concerns.
One of the best ways to protect your eyes is by using safety glasses. Safety glasses are so effective in preventing injury that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) incorporated specific guidelines into its standard, 29 CFR 1910.1333, as to when you should use them. If your work exposes you to hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation, OSHA mandates that you wear safety glasses.
OSHA also requires that you use safety glasses with side protection when you face a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors, such as clip-on or slide-on side shields, are permitted as long as they meet the agency’s requirements of providing full protection from flying objects.
If you wear prescription lenses, you are still required to wear safety glasses if the possibility of eye injury exists. You have two options. You can wear eye protection that has your prescription incorporated into its design. Or, you can use eye protection that can be worn over your prescription lenses, as long as doing so doesn’t disturb the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.
In addition to wearing safety glasses, you should protect your eyes by having a thorough eye examination every two years. Many diseases can affect the eyes. However, changes in vision are usually gradual, which is why it is so important to monitor eye health with regular examinations.
Here are a few other tips to help you keep your eyes healthy:
· Don’t use over-the-counter eye remedies or treatments unless advised by your doctor.
· Don’t wear sunglasses for night driving or in fog.
· Don’t look directly at the sun, even while wearing sunglasses.
· Don’t work in dimly lit areas.
· Don’t rub your eyes with dirty hands.
Sometimes you must accept a little discomfort, inconvenience or expense in order to protect your eyes, but the sacrifice is well worth it. If the unexpected happens, your protective eyewear could make the difference between keeping your sight and losing it.