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Eye Safety Fact Sheet

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  • Each day, about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  • Approximately 60 percent of workers sustaining eye injuries were not wearing proper protective eyewear, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "I didn't think I needed them" should never be the answer as to why safety glasses were not worn.
  • An estimated 90 percent of eye injuries could be prevented through the use of proper protective eyewear on the job, according to the National Eye Institute.
  • Under the Healthy People 2010 program, the nation’s official public health agenda, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hopes to cut workplace eye injuries by almost a third over the course of this decade.
  • Industry standards now recognize two classes of industrial safety lenses: traditional basic impact lenses and high impact lenses, shown in ballistic tests to offer improved protection against flying particles. Basic impact protectors can only be worn in situations where known or presumed hazards are low impact in nature. High impact protectors (Z87+) provide protection to hazards of high velocity and/or high mass.
  • Safety eyewear is now available in a variety of new styles and materials that make it more attractive and comfortable to wear.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require employers to ensure workers have suitable eye protection.
  • To that end, OSHA requires employers to formally assess workplace eye hazards, select the appropriate type of eyewear to use, train and certify employees in eye protection, and plan for eye emergencies. (See the OSHA Eye and Face Protection eTool, a step-by-step guide to OSHA requirements, hazard assessment and safety eyewear selection at
  • Workers who wear prescription glasses must also wear required eye protection.
  • Protective eyewear must be properly fitted to be effective. Don't let lack of comfort be a barrier to full-time safety eyewear use.
  • The American Optometric Association recommends that supervisory officials in the workplace, in schools, and at recreational events should mandate wear of eye protection in all activities in which a risk of eye injury exists.
  • The National Eye Institute (NEI) has dedicated Healthy Eyes Month 2006 (May) to workplace eye safety. Now is an appropriate time for employers to ensure that all workers have proper eye protection.

Healthy Eyes are required for a Productive Workforce.

(c)2006-07 American Optometric Association. All Rights Reserved.