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Proper protection could reduce workplace eye injuries

About 2,000 workers in New Jersey and around the country seek medical treatment each day after suffering some sort of eye injury. As many as 90 percent of these injuries could be prevented by goggles or other forms of eye protection, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Eye injuries in the workplace range from simple strains that impair vision only temporarily to serious trauma that can cause blindness. While proper protection can prevent eye injuries among workers who perform dangerous tasks, those who stare at computer screens all day can protect themselves by looking away periodically to give their eyes a chance to recover. Studies have found that people blink up to 50 percent less when looking at computer or television screens.

The AAO urges office workers to follow the 20-20-20 rule that involves looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This allows eyes to adjust and blinking frequency to return to normal. The professional association also reminds workers to stay at least 25 inches away from their screens and recommends that they apply filters to reduce glare. The organization also says that the eye protection provided to workers should be appropriate for the type of work being performed and meet criteria laid down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as the American National Standards Institute.

It can take considerable time to recover from even minor workplace injuries, and workers' compensation programs have been put into place to ensure that injured workers are able to cope financially until they are able to return to their jobs. However, qualifying for these benefits is not always straightforward. An attorney with may be able to help an injured worker navigate the sometimes confusing application process.

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