Workplace eye protection – What advice can an eye doc give?

Wear your safety glasses

If you are a carpenter, chemist, dentist, gardener, machinist, manicurist, painter, or plumber just to name a few occupations, these four little words should be ingrained in your mind and practiced 100 percent of the time. Protective eyewear does not consist of your standard frame or ordinary lens material that you may wear on a daily basis for vision correction or as a fashion accessory.

The standards for “protective eyewear” is set forth by one of the branches of the federal agency called Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Mandates to wear protective eyewear is to safeguard you, the workforce, from unnecessary injury and harm. Such protective eyewear for the workplace is very specific and is typically made of a chemical and impact resistant material such as Trivex®. The lens may incorporate your prescription or it may simply have no prescription at all. The frame is manufactured with materials that is flexibly strong and is has a Z87 labeling. Additionally, the frame may have side shields for added protection if needed.


Photo courtesy of John Carleton on Flickr

The story of Mr. Plumber

A patient of mine named Mr. Plumber (real patient, fictitious name). He is a hard working plumber in our town. Mr. Plumber frequents our office way too often. You see, Mr. Plumber refuses to wear “safety goggles” because he feels uncomfortable and restricted with them on. In only ten years, he has suffered 25 pieces of metal lodged into both corneas. It wasn’t until one of the metal pieces pierced the center of his right eye, causing loss of vision, that he finally decided to comply with our ongoing recommendation of those four little, but impactful words… wear you safety glasses!

~Judy Tong, OD, FAAO
California Optometric Association

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