Healthy Vision Month focuses on eye safety

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Scott Drake
  • 71st Medical Group Optometry Services
May is Healthy Vision Month which places focus on eye safety. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, each day about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries requiring medical treatment. About one-third of those are treated in hospital emergency departments and more than 100 of those cases result in one or more days of lost work. With our high-mission requirements in the Air Force it is imperative that we keep our statistics as low as possible. 

It is estimated that 90 percent of eye injuries could be prevented through the use of proper protective eyewear, yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly three of every five workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time of injury. It is very important to remember that anytime tasks are performed that causes flying debris (lawn mowing, metal work, wood work, etc.) to use safety glasses. When working with chemicals, it is recommended to have a face shield as well as safety glasses to avoid splashing chemicals in the eyes. It is also important to protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays. Cataracts are a form of eye damage in which loss of transparency in the lens of the eye clouds vision. Research has shown that UV radiation increases the likelihood of certain cataracts. Although curable with modern eye surgery, cataracts diminish the eyesight of millions of Americans and cost billions of dollars in medical care each year. The government recommends that all sunglasses block UV radiation. 

Dennis Robertson, M.D., Mayo Clinic Ophthalmologist, recommends the following information when looking for the proper sunglasses: 

Blue-blocking plastic lenses: Often promoted for sun protection, blue-blocking lenses also block red, amber and blue light, making it difficult to discriminate traffic light colors. Blue-blocking lenses fail the guidelines established by the American National Standards Institute. 

Polarized lenses: Although polarized lenses protect against glare, they don't meet the criteria for UV protection unless they have additional UV-blocking material in the lenses. 

Photochromic lenses: This type of lens protects the eyes from glare, sun and UV radiation while also maintaining visual acuity. Also, photochromic lenses do not distort color. 

Polycarbonate lenses: A wise choice for children and athletes, polycarbonate lenses shield the eyes from UV radiation as well as protect the eyes against impact injuries that may be sustained during play and sports. 

For more information regarding eye care, call optometry services at 213-7418 or 213-5548.