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Eye Safety Fact Sheet

"Eye Safety is Everyone's Business" has been selected by National Eye Institute (NEI) as the theme for this year’s May observance of Healthy Eyes Month. Prompted by what officials believe is a large number of preventable on-the-job eye injuries, NEI is launching a drive to increase the use of proper safety eyewear in the workplace. The institute is asking optometrists and other eye care providers to play a major role.

A special AOA Eye Safety Project Team has been established, within the AOA Clinical Care Group, to help increase public awareness of workplace eye safety issues and encourage AOA member optometrists to make the dispensing of safety eyewear a part of their practices.

The AOA Eye Safety Project Team believes optometrists should be workers' preferred source for both prescription and plano safety eyewear, according to task force Chair Gregory W. Good, O.D., Ph.D.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established improved workplace eye safety as a goal under Healthy People 2010, the nation's official public health agenda.

Each day, about 2,000 eye injuries requiring medical treatment occur in workplaces around the nation. NEI estimates that 90% of those workplace eye injuries could be prevented through the use of proper protective eyewear.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require employers to see that workers have suitable eye protection.

Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that nearly three out of every five workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time of the injury, or were wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job.

NEI, the AOA Eye Safety Project Team, and safety eyewear manufacturers all say optometrists can play a critical role in bringing proper safety eyewear to workers-particularly the employees of small and medium-size businesses.

While most of the nation's larger employers have established formal safety eyewear programs for workers, relatively few smaller employers have such programs, the AOA Eye Safety Project Team notes.

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