Contact Lenses And The Workplace
Now on to post 5001 and Beyond. :D This will be instalments one and two of what will be at least four posts regarding contact lenses. I know this has come up occasionally in various threads. In this case Im not offering support for or against contact lenses, only bringing to light what has been pointed over my way.
The information I present comes from the SafetyXchange, which is where I get a majority of my safety notices. And since there has been a lot of discussion regarding contact lenses and lasik surgery, I figured this was a good a time as any. Enjoy
CONTACT LENSES & THE WORKPLACE
Basic Safety Information You Need to Know, Part 1 of 4 By Duane Perkinson
More than 32 million adult Americans wear contact lenses. Many of them are employees who wear their lenses at work in industrial settings. As an optician who specializes in contact lenses, I want to share my insights with the safety community on the dangers this poses. This series will discuss what the employee, employer and first responder should know about contact lenses in the workplace.
This week, we'll look at the employee perspective. There's also a Model Form in Tools for employees to give their eye doctors that lists key visual information the doctor needs to know to prescribe appropriate lenses for the employee's particular work environment.
Advancement of Contact Lenses
Contact lens materials and designs have advanced a long way in the past 30 years. Today's contact lenses are cleaner, more comfortable and healthier.
For example, disposable soft contact lenses can be replaced daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. Prescription options enhance the eye's muscle coordination and offer a wider field of vision. There are even bifocal contacts.
Contact lenses can even be used cosmetically, for example, to change or enrich eye color. But it is important to remember that contact lenses are classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a medical device requiring a doctor's prescription.
How the Workplace Affects Contact Lenses
Where contact lens use is permitted in the industrial workplace, employees must be sure to inform their eye doctor that they plan to wear their lenses at work. That's because there are certain critical variables that may affect the doctor's final choice of a contact lens design. Besides the prescription itself, the variables associated with the employee's industrial environment include:
Dust and airborne debris levels;
Presence of vapours or gases; and
Exposures to chemicals.
Based on the information supplied by the employee, the doctor's final choice of a contact lens may:
Include a larger diameter to protect the eye from debris; or
Consist of a plastic material that is more resilient to dirt and debris collecting upon the contact lens surface.
Or, the doctor may determine that contact lenses are not appropriate for the industrial environment and advise against a prescription for such an application altogether.
What to Tell Your Eye Doctor
To help the doctor make an appropriate decision, employees should provide the doctor a summary of information about how they use their eyes during work activity. We've designed a document we call WIDE (short for "What I Do with my Eyes") to facilitate this communication. (SafetyXChange members can access a copy of the WeCare4Eyes' form in Tools.)
In the summary, employees should explain to their eye doctor:
What the work environment is like;
The on-the-job visual demands it involves; and
The unique distances involved with the work activity (this information is especially vital for wearers of bifocals).
Employees who wear contacts in industrial environments must understand the risks and potential hazards involved. Next week, we'll discuss how employees can care for their contact lenses in an industrial setting.
CONTACT LENSES IN THE WORKPLACE
Caring for Your Contact Lenses, Part 2 of 4 By Duane Perkinson
Last week we discussed what employees should consider when deciding whether and what kinds of contact lenses to wear in an industrial workplace. This week, we'll look at how to care for the contact lenses after you get your prescription.
The Four Materials You Need
There are four things you need at the workplace to properly care for contact lenses.
Contact lenses dry-out during use. We blink less when we tire. This causes the lens to dry. Dust and debris in the workplace also contribute to the drying process.
It's therefore necessary to use a contact lens lubricant to maintain the proper moistness level and maintain contact lens performance during the workday. It's important to use the right kind of lubricant. Long gone are the days when saliva could be used for lubrication. Drops designed for "getting the red" out of your eyes will permanently destroy a contact lens if used while the contacts are on the eye.
2. Carrying Case
In my experience, most contact lens loss or damage can be traced to the fact that no case was available. When filled with fresh solution, a carrying case provides the safest way to store a contact lens. A glass of water is not a safe or sterile alternative.
3. Back-up Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are generally uncomfortable when debris builds up on the lens surface, a rip or tear develops along the lens edge or a crack occurs in the body of the lens. A back-up contact lens allows the employee to replace the uncomfortable lens with a fresh one. If the eye is still uncomfortable or irritated, the employee should remove the contact lens and consult the eye doctor.
4. Safety glasses
What better way to continue your workday endeavours safely and comfortably than by using your safety glasses? They won't help you if they're at home on the dresser. The safety glasses prescription should also be up-to-date. If the prescription is over two-years-old, chances are you won't see as well as you should to perform your best on the job.
To maintain proper eye health, employees must be sure to properly care for their contact lenses. And wearing non-prescription protective eyewear over the contacts is essential to guard against eye injuries. Next week, we'll look at what employers and first responders must know about contact lenses in the work environment.
Contact Lenses and Welding
With regard to the article on Contact Lenses & the Workplace, another risk not mentioned is to evaluate your risk to weld flash. Contact lenses can become adhered or welded to the eye when exposed to weld flash, even by inadvertent or glancing exposure. This will necessitate surgical intervention for removal.
Author Biography - Duane Perkinson
Duane Perkinson, in the course of 25 years private professional practice, specializes in both soft lens and rigid gas permeable contact lenses. His experience covers contacts of all types, including disposable, planned replacement, astigmatic, and bifocals. He has participated in numerous FDA studies of both contacts and related solutions. As an optician; Duane and his firm Vision Xperts provide on site safety eye care and prescription PPE. With over 30 years experience in the eye health care profession, Duane addresses VDT utilization, vision engineering, and corrective eyewear.
Summer Safety Recall Notice
I've never heard of this, but then I don't get to spend a lot of time at or near the beach. The concept sounds like fun, but I can see the inherent dangers associated with this activity.
Tube Kiting by Catherine Jones
This latest form of summer fun is growing fast in popularity and notoriety. Tube kites, inflatable watercraft hooked by tow rope to the back of a boat, allow tube riders to become airborne. As the boat approaches speeds of 25 to 35 miles per hour, the tube rider pulls back on the rope and the tube kite is lifted high into the air, soaring above the water. It's not hard to see the hazards.
There have been at least two deaths associated with tube kiting and numerous serious injuries, including a broken neck, punctured lung, broken ribs, broken femur, chest and back injuries and facial injuries.
According to the CPSC, some possible reasons for these incidents include:
the tube is hard to control
the tube's reaction is unpredictable in certain weather conditions (particularly wind gusts that spin the tube out of control)
boat operator inexperience
sudden slowing or stopping of the boat
The new sport is now the subject of great public scrutiny and has already been banned in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the site of at least four serious incidents.
SUMMER SAFETY TIP
A "Teak-It" to RideA Bad Idea on the Water
Dont hang ten in the danger zone By Ted Morrison
Here's a new thrill to warn your employees against: "teak surfing." Teak surfing is the deadly practice of hanging by your fingertips from a boat and skimming along on the wake.
As every safety professional knows, all gas and diesel engines produce deadly, invisible carbon monoxide. Boat engines build up fumes just above the wake, where teak surfers usually hang. They can quickly and unknowingly inhale deadly amounts of the poisonous gas. Due to the growing number of fatalities, some states have banned teak surfing and impose heavy fines on violators.
Got a summer safety tip you'd like to share? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if we can use your name/company name.
Contributor's Bio: Ted Morrison spent most of fifteen years in the military and in the trucking industry before returning to school to collect a diploma in professional writing. Now with Bongarde Media as writer and associate editor, Ted's time "in the trenches" helps him to write more effectively on the topic of occupational health and safety