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Optometrists urge vigilance on eye safety

Despite the high incidence of injury, according to the Optometrists Association Australia, most workers are unaware of vision problems that are putting them at risk.

According to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, working males were far more likely to suffer eye injury than other groups, with four-fifths of all cases occurring in blokes. Almost half of the cases caused by a foreign object lodging in the eye.

?A foreign body in the eye was also the most common reason for treatment in the emergency department and eye-related injury compensation claims, with the median time lost from work being about a week and a half,” said Clare Bradley of the AIHW’s national injury surveillance unit.

As part of its ?Eye accidents change lives forever? campaign, the Optometrists Association is urging workers in the quarrying industry to implement eye safety procedures, conduct regular vision screenings and eye tests for employees.

A vision screening involves an optometrist identifying and analysing visual hazards in a specific workplace, then determining ways to improve “eye comfort.”

?While we have seen a steady decrease in the number of workplace eye injuries since the campaign began, there is still a long way to go,? said Optometrists Association professional services manager Jared Slater.

A major cause of new eye injuries is existing visual impairment, which often goes undiagonised. According to optometrist and ergonomist Jennifer Long, who has conducted workplace vision screenings for 18 years, many employees don?t realise they have vision problems which place them at greater risk injuring their eyes.

?Workplace vision screenings are incredibly beneficial as they help increase employees? awareness of their own vision and the importance of being able to see clearly,? said Long. ?Many injuries I?ve seen could have been prevented with simple precautions such as wearing eye protection appropriate to an employee?s specific job.?

More details about workplace eye safety can be found at

SOURCE: Optometrists Association of Australia; AIHW

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