Common workplace eye injuries

workplace-injuriesOur first post in our series to mark the Workplace Eye Wellness Awareness Month of March we delve into the world of work-related eye injuries.

So what if I told you that tens of people suffer vision loss or injure their eye by preventable accidents at the workplace? Eye injuries alone are a huge loss in production time and medical compensation and in some cases, sight.

No one is immune to eye problems and injuries no matter the field of work you are in. Eye problems at work range from eye strain or computer vision syndrome to dry eye syndrome to trauma to a slip, trip or fall caused by a wet floor.

Those who don’t have the typical office desk are exposed to even more risks. Think of the lab technicians who work with chemicals or people at the construction sites or mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, grinding machine operators. Think about health care workers, laboratory and janitorial staff.  What do all these hardworking citizens have in common?

So what are some of the key causes of eye injuries at the work place are:

  • Bright lights: Welders produce an intense amount of light that can be harmful to the eye. The use of welders without the correct safety equipment at the work place has the potential to cause temporary or permanent eye damage.
  • Chemicals: Chemicals are used in many factory based jobs. If they come into contact with the face through splashes or spillages, they can cause burns which in turn can harm the eye. Training and having safety equipment is very crucial to avoid sustaining an eye injury at work.
  • Electric shocks: We use electrical products on a daily basis, but an electric shock has the potential to cause eyesight damage. This can occur through the shock itself or the exposure to a sudden bright flash of light.
  • Grit and other particles: Our eyelashes and protective socket are designed to protect the eye from damage. However, frequent exposure to grit at work, particularly through the use of manufacturing machinery, has the potential to cause eye injury, especially if protective equipment such as goggles is not provided. Other forms of exposure can occur through grinding or hammering, where splinters or slivers of material such as metal are ejected at high velocity from the machine towards operators or nearby employees.
  • Head trauma: An impact to the face or head can cause a direct injury to the eye, but a blow or impact to the head in the workplace or any form of head trauma can lead to internal and external eye injuries, which have the potential to cause a loss of sight or even blindness.
  • Sharp or flying objects: We come into contact with sharp objects on a daily basis. If these objects are used in the wrong way or carelessly placed, they have the real risk of causing serious harm to a person’s eyesight.
To prevent or reduce eye injuries at the work place:
  • Know the eye safety dangers at work and complete an eye hazard assessment
  • Eliminate hazards before starting work
  • Use proper eye protection
  • Have your eyes examined once a year to evaluate any unforeseen eye injuries or conditions
  • Wear safety eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective eyewear
  • Ensure eye safety measures are available depending on the hazard in your work place, including non-prescription and prescription safety glasses, goggles, face shields , welding helmets and full-face respirators

Do you have a query related to an eye injury at work or any other eye-related query? Please feel free to contact us via

If you have an eye condition or are in need of a routine eye exam, talk to us via +254 (0) 707 777 707 or visit us at City Eye Hospital, Ngong Rd, Opposite Traffic Police Station, Nairobi, Kenya. 

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