In the United States, approximately 2,000 workers a day suffer an eye injury requiring medical treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 100 workers a day lose time from work because of their injuries. Some suffer mild symptoms and quickly recover, others become permanently blind, and many suffer an injury between these two extremes.

Accordingly, March has been designated as Workplace Eye Wellness Month. It is important for all workers to know what commonly causes eye injuries at work and what their rights may be if they are hurt.

The Risk of Eye Injuries At Work

Like most workplace injuries, eye injuries can occur for a variety of reasons. Some common reasons include:

  • Small particles getting into the eye. This can cause injuries such as abrasions and scratches. Depending on your work, the particles that could enter your eye include wood, metal, dust, or concrete. Other things such as nails, staples, and tools can also seriously damage the eye during a workplace accident.
  • Chemicals splashing into the eye. This could include cleaners and anything that splashes or releases fumes.
  • Radiation. Radiation or ultraviolet light can damage the eyes.
  • Computer work. Computer Vision Syndrome, also known as Digital Eye Strain, can occur if you regularly work on a computer or other electronic device. The headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain associated with this condition are temporary for many people. However, for some people the conditions may recur or worsen.
  • Infection. Anyone who comes into contact with blood or other bodily fluids may risk suffering an eye infection.

Safety measures including regular hand washing, goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or the proper positioning of the computer or other machine may help decrease these risks. While a worker in any job is at risk of suffering an eye injury, workers in certain professions should be particularly mindful of eye injury risks and take appropriate safety measures to prevent getting hurt. These professions include:

  • Medical professionals such doctors, nurses, and hospital workers
  • Caregivers such as daycare workers and nursing home staff
  • Welders
  • Construction workers
  • Laboratory workers
  • Janitors
  • Animal handlers
  • Office workers

Anyone who has suffered an eye injury at work should get the necessary medical care and find out whether workers’ compensation is possible.

You May Qualify for Workers’ Compensation If You Are Hurt

Whether you suffer eye strain from repetitive work or an acute injury from a workplace accident, it is important to know whether you qualify for workers’ compensation.

In both Georgia and South Carolina, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you were hurt on the job and your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, in order to get the compensation you deserve, you need to make sure that you report the accident and your injury within the required amount of time and that you see a doctor who is authorized to treat your injuries. If you fail to take these actions, you could prevent your own recovery.

You do not have to be completely blind in order to receive compensation for a workplace eye injury. However, it is important to note that blindness is often considered a catastrophic injury and may be treated differently than other types of workplace eye injuries.

In both Georgia and South Carolina, you have the right to work with a workers’ compensation attorney to make sure you get the types of workers’ compensation benefits to which you are legally entitled. Benefits may include compensation for medical treatment, temporary lost income benefits, and permanent disability benefits. Your attorney can make sure you get the compensation you deserve and that can help you get the necessary medical care to make as full a recovery as possible.

Please help raise awareness about the risk of workplace eye injuries and how workers’ compensation may help someone who has been hurt by sharing this page on Twitter or Facebook and directly with your colleagues, friends, and loved ones who may benefit from this information.

Last Updated : December 3, 2021