The month of March is full of popular holidays including St. Patrick’s Day, Pi Day and the Ides of March.
March is also designated as National Nutrition Month, National Women’s History Month and Irish American Month.
A far less known but equally important concept celebrated in March is workplace eye wellness.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology, which is dedicated to raising awareness about important eye health topics, recognizes March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month.
According to the academy, nearly 25,000 Americans visit the emergency room due to a preventable workplace eye injury each year.
The National Security Council has also recognized March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month, including it in its safety observance calendar.
The observance month aims to remind employers and students of the importance associated with wearing certified and approved eye protection.
The Risk Management Committee, which is part of Gannon University’s physical plant, recognizes Workplace Eye Wellness Month.
The committee aims to remind university faculty, staff and students of important safety issues that will hopefully prevent accidents on and off campus.
Nicole Miller, office manager of Gannon’s physical plant, said that the committee hopes to help with the health and safety of everyone in the Gannon community through observances like Workplace Eye Wellness Month.
“I do not think people realize the strain they put on their eyes on a daily basis,” she said. “This goes for both staff and students.
“We spend so much time on our phones, behind a computer screen or reading you don’t think to take those mini breaks your eyes need. Even scheduling regular eye exams sometimes slips our minds, so this simple reminder may be all someone needs to get that appointment scheduled.”
University students also notice the importance of quality eye care in a college setting.
Senior pre-optometry major Hannah Sinsebox said that students should care about eye wellness because by taking care of your eyes now, it will lead to less problems with your eyes in the future.
“For most of us, our eyesight is what gets us through a typical day, whether it is driving or reading from a PowerPoint in the classroom,” Sinsebox said. “Our world is dependent on vision, so it is important that we start taking better care of our eyes.”
Gannon’s Risk Management Committee has a few helpful suggestions to keep in mind when considering eye safety in the workplace or classroom.
When sitting in front of a computer for a long period of time, it may be a good idea to take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to focus your vision on something that is 20 feet away. This is known as the 20/20/20 rule.
It’s also important to remember to blink frequently when starring at a computer all day in order to keep your eyes moist and prevent dry eye from occurring.
Mini breaks away from a computer are also recommended to give your eyes a rest from focusing on the screen.
It is also noted that in order to successfully prevent computer vision syndrome, it is necessary to schedule regular eye exams with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Eye exams are the main way in which a doctor is able to monitor your eye health, and it is important to let your doctor know if you spend a lot of time using electronic devices during your daily work routine.
Although it might not be the most exciting observance holiday to celebrate, Workplace Eye Wellness Month is an important reminder for staff, faculty and students to take care of their eye health in all settings.
In order to fully see and enjoy the world around us, we must take care of our vision to guarantee healthy eyesight in our future.