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Vol. LVIII, No. 9
May 5, 2006
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May 2006 Is Healthy Vision Month

Each May, the National Eye Institute sponsors Healthy Vision Month (HVM), a national eye health observance devoted to promoting the vision objectives in Healthy People 2010. This year, the month is dedicated to increasing awareness among employers and employees about the importance of workplace eye safety. Its theme is, "Eye Safety at Work Is Everyone's Business."

Each day, about 2,000 U.S. workers receive medical treatment for work-related eye injuries. Workplace eye injury is a leading cause of eye trauma, vision loss, disability and blindness and can interfere with a person's ability to perform his or her job and carry out normal activities. The combination of removing or minimizing eye safety hazards and wearing proper eye safety protection can prevent many eye injuries.

This year's HVM provides information and materials in both English and Spanish that can be used to implement programs and worksite awareness activities. These are designed to educate employers and employees about the importance of reducing eye injuries by understanding vision hazards and by wearing appropriate, properly fitted protective eyewear.

"Personal eye protection such as safety glasses with side shields, goggles, face shields, welding helmets and full-face respirators can protect workers from common hazards," said NEI director Dr. Paul Sieving. Common workplace hazards include flying fragments, large chips, hot sparks, optical radiation, splashes from molten metals, objects, particles and glare. "The risk of eye injury and the need for preventive measures depend on the job and the conditions in the workplace," Sieving explained.

Also sponsoring the observance are the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Safety Council, in collaboration with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. For more information visit www.healthyvision2010.org/hvm.