It’s easy to take care of your eyes during the summer. The bright sun reminds you to wear sunglasses every day and apply sunscreen liberally. But when winter time comes around and the sun disappears, you toss those shades in the glove compartment and throw away the sun block.
Whether you are inside or outside this winter, your eyes need protection. Taking care of your eyes is especially important in the workplace, and it’s a year-round responsibility. A large percentage of eye injuries take place at work, so it is always the right time for a refresher on eye safety.
Many eye accidents are caused by heavy machinery, but winter weather conditions are also responsible for eye damage in the workplace. According to the Centers for Disease Control an Prevention, 70 percent of eye injuries are caused by an object or piece of equipment coming in contact with the eye, and 26 percent of eye injuries arise from exposure to harmful substances or environments. Snow, ice and ultraviolet radiation can cause significant harm to the eyes and create irreversible damage.
Here are some easy tips to keep your eyes protected at work during the winter months ahead:
Wear sunglasses and sunscreen all year round
Did you know that 1 in 4 adults rarely or never wear sunglasses outside? Ultraviolet radiation can actually be more damaging during the winter months because snow and ice can intensify the sun’s rays. Long-term exposure to UV rays can cause significant vision problems like cataracts, macular degeneration, skin cancer, abnormal growths, and eye cancer. Damage from ultraviolet radiation is cumulative, so care for your eyes and skin with the same diligence in the winter as in the summer. Applying sunscreen and wearing sunglasses that offer 99 percent UVA and UVB protection will reduce your risk for eye disease and preserve your vision.
Apply eye drops
During the colder months, offices and places of work are continuously running the heater to keep internal temperatures comfortable. Dryness in the air can make your eyes irritated and reduce visual clarity. Frigid air outside can also be bothersome and irritating. Rewetting drops can help keep your eyes lubricated and moist, so keep a bottle of eye drops in your desk drawer as well as at home.
Use a humidifier
A humidifier can also keep your eyes feeling more refreshed by putting moisture back in the air. Some humidifiers have the added bonus of a diffuser which can circulate oils and help with common winter congestion problems. The constant hum of a humidifier may even reduce distractions and drown out office noise.
Wear safety glasses or goggles
If you work outside in a job that requires you to be exposed to the elements, you should wear durable safety goggles to shield your eyes from dust, dirt, snow, ice, and gravel. Goggles may be uncomfortable, but the annoyance of safety goggles pales in comparison to vision damage due to an eye injury.
If you wear contact lenses, you may want to consider taking a break from your contacts and wearing your glasses this winter. Contacts tend to absorb any existing moisture in your eyes and often adhere to the surface of the eye. Depending primarily on your eyeglasses makes it easier to keep your eyes moisturized, and it allows you to try a fresh new look with a new pair of frames! Keep your eyes healthy in the colder months as well as the warmer ones, and you’ll find that your eyes will take care of you for years to come (Source: EHS Today).