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Eye Injuries at Work: How They Happen and What You Can Do to Protect Your Recovery

Approximately 2,000 people a day suffer eye injuries at work that require medical treatment, according to information from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Are You at Risk?

According to the American Optometric Association, many work-related eye injuries occur because:

  • Chemicals or other materials get in the eye and cut or scrape the cornea.
  • Grease or oil gets into the eye.
  • Steam burns the eye.
  • The worker is exposed to ultraviolet or infrared radiation that harms the eye.
  • Wood chips or metal debris enter the eye.
  • Workers, such as healthcare workers and janitorial workers, are exposed to infectious diseases.

Workers are encouraged, and often required, to wear protective eye gear to help minimize the chances of suffering a serious eye injury. Yet serious eye injuries still happen daily.

What to Do After an Eye Injury at Work

An eye injury can be a medical emergency. You may need to act quickly in order to protect your vision or to manage your pain. You should seek emergency medical assistance. While you wait for first responders, you may try to flush chemicals out of your eye with water or put a cold compress on your eye if you’ve been hit by something.

Additionally, you should report the incident to your employer as soon as possible. While you have the right to emergency medical care, your employer has the right to choose your medical care provider if you are making a workers’ compensation claim in Iowa.

What You May Recover in an Iowa Workers’ Compensation Claim

All of your medical expenses should be paid directly to the health care providers chosen by your employer. Additionally, you may be able to recover weekly benefits. The amount of the benefits that you might recover depends on whether your eye injury is classified as a total injury or partial injury, and as a permanent injury or a temporary injury. For example, if you lost 100% use of one eye then you may be entitled to 140 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits.

The exact amount of those benefits, as well as other potential workers’ compensation benefits such as vocational rehabilitation, can be difficult to calculate. The workers’ compensation insurance company may try to minimize your recovery in order to save money at your expense. Accordingly, it is important to contact an experienced Iowa workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible to make sure that your rights are protected and that you get the full recovery that you deserve after a work-related injury. To learn more, please contact us via this website or by calling us directly at 800.800.5678 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham

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