You were working when you felt something enter your eyes. You didn’t think much of it at the time, but whatever you were exposed to started to sting. By the time you knew how serious it was and started washing out your eyes in the eyewash station, you knew that some damage had been done.

Workplace vision damage is a risk to anyone who is exposed to light, hazardous chemicals, falls, trauma to the head or any number of other workplace hazards. Did you know that workplace eye injuries cost around $300 million each year in lost productivity, workers’ compensation coverage and medical care?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that around 20,000 eye injuries happen each year. Some of the risks of developing these injuries include:

  • Working with tools that may slip or malfunction
  • Working with chemicals that splatter
  • Being struck with shards of metal or glass
  • Being exposed to metal shavings or crystalline silica

If you find that you’re having trouble with your eyes or experience an emergency, it’s essential that you get medical care. Early treatment may help prevent permanent damage to your eyesight.

Always get medical care if:

  • There is something under the eyelid that can’t be removed
  • One eye is bulging compared to the other
  • One eye is unable to move like the other
  • The eyelid is cut or torn
  • You have trouble seeing or are in pain
  • The pupil or pupils are of an unusual shape or size
  • There is blood in the clear area of the eye

Injuries to the eyes can threaten your sight. Always seek medical care as soon as possible, and inform your employer that you’ll be seeking workers’ compensation.

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