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March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

March is host to two national vision-related health observances, Workplace Eye Wellness Month and Save Your Vision Month.

The first, sponsored by Prevent Blindness America generates awareness for eye-safety in the workplace. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, there were 20,300 occupational injuries to worker’s eyes which resulted in days away from work. A recent report issued from The Vision Council reports that 70% of adults reported they’ve experienced digital eyestrain from increasing use of computers, tablets and smartphone screens.

Appropriate protective eye wear such as safety glasses or a face shield that fits comfortably, reduces glare, and does not obstruct vision, will prevent airborne particles, chemicals, and hazardous light rays from damaging the eyes. While eyestrain from looking at digital screens for extended periods of time will not cause permanent injury to the eyes, it is recommended that users take frequent breaks to focus eyes on a more distant object, and to blink frequently to prevent dryness.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) sponsors Save Your Vision Month to highlight the importance of routine eye examinations. The AOA suggests the following schedule for eye exams: 6 months of age; 3 years old; before starting school; every two years until age 60; annually after 61. When detected early through routine eye exams, vision loss resulting from diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy may be reduced.