Since August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, it’s a great time to emphasize a lifelong commitment to eye safety, beginning as young as possible.
Peek-a-boo may be one of the first games your workers remember playing as a child, which is a good thing, because we all need to get the picture regarding the critical importance of eye safety.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) devotes many resources to teaching children the importance of protecting their eyes. “See All You Can See” is their website (http://isee.nei.nih.gov/) that gathers many teaching and training tools with good information—that you can use with your adult trainees as well!
For example, learning about the anatomy of the eye and how all the parts work together to allow vision can reemphasize to workers the necessity of being vigilant in protecting their eyes. Here’s an overview from NEI that workers can use with their children—and as a refresher for themselves!
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How We See
Light rays bounce off an object at which we are looking and come back to our eyes where they enter through the outer part of the eye, called the cornea. The cornea is clear like a window and helps the eye to focus. These light rays then travel through an opening called the pupil, which is the dark round circle in the middle of the colored part of the eye. The colored part is called the iris, and the pupil is really a hole in the iris. The iris controls how much light goes into the eye.
Our eyes also have a lens, located behind the iris, which focuses the rays of light as they pass through the lens to the back of the eye. The retina lines the inside of the eye and includes 130 million tiny light-sensitive cells that send messages to other cells, which join at the back of the eye to form the optic nerve, which is the part of the brain that controls sight.
The NEI also points out that because our vision is so important, our bodies provide several natural protections for our eyes:
- Bony sockets that protect eyes from getting hit.
- Eyebrows that help keep light from getting in the eyes.
- Eyelids that close to keep things from getting in the eyes.
- Eyelashes that also keep things from getting in the eyes.
- Tears that help keep the eyes moist. Tears also help to wash away things that irritate the eyes.
Use this quick anatomy lesson to remind your workers about the wonderful gift of sight and how critical it is for them to always follow eye safety practices—including wearing required and appropriate personal protective equipment—on the job and at home.
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Why It Matters
- Eye injuries cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation.
- More than 2,000 eye injuries occur every day. An estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that almost 70 percent of the eye injuries studied occur from falling or flying objects or sparks striking the eye.
- It is estimated that over 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable with the use of proper safety eyewear.