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Eye protection in the workplace: the basics

Of all work-related injuries in North Carolina and across the U.S., 10 to 20 percent result in temporary or permanent vision loss. Approximately 2,000 people incur eye injuries on the job every day, according to PreventBlindness.org, and 1 in 10 of these result in days off from work. This is why eye protection is essential in the workplace.

Experts stress that eyewear for workers must be durable, be comfortable and fit properly. There should be no "one size fits all" mentality. Accurate fit testing will naturally have to consider facial features, eyesight and personal preferences. Employers may also need to take style and color into account, especially for younger workers, because these can affect how the workers look and feel.

Getting high-quality eyewear sends an important message to employees that their safety is a top priority. If workers themselves are choosing the eyewear, they should beware of lightweight glasses and make sure that the product meets ANSI Z87+ standards for high impact. Some manufacturers make their products lightweight by making the lenses thinner, but these usually do not meet standards.

Those who work in front of a computer will want glasses that are anti-glare. Reducing glare will lessen the risk for eye strain and fatigue. At the same time, conventional computer glasses are not strong enough to protect against larger debris and other hazards.

Incurring a work injury or occupational disease leads to medical expenses, lost time from work and other losses. However, victims are eligible for compensation thanks to the workers' compensation program. The benefits paid out could help cover medical bills and a percentage of the lost wages. Since employers are able to dispute claims, a victim may want to hire a lawyer before filing.

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