Vision Loss at Work: Causes, Prevention, and Compensation

Vision loss does not always mean going completely blind. In fact, there is a broad range of severity that workers can experience.

tired worker rubbing his eyes

Of all the possible workplace injuries you can get, vision loss is one of the scariest. Humans are highly visual creatures, and when we lose some or all of our sight capabilities, the consequences are dire. The silver lining is that if you experience vision loss at work, a skilled workers compensation attorney can fight for you to get a fair compensation package from your employer. That being said, the best-case scenario is for you to protect your eyes and never having to go through the workers’ compensation process at all. Below, we talk about the basics of vision loss at work.


There are two categories of causes that you should know about: Acute and continual.

Acute – These are events where your sight is taken away quickly in one damaging event. Some typical examples of this are blunt force trauma, being hit by projectiles, using heavy tools, or handling hazardous materials. For each of these tasks, you can carry them out daily for years without any issues. Then, when you least expect it, it could go wrong and your vision could be lost.

Continual – These tasks are ones that you carry out often and very slowly take your vision away. Two typical examples are staring at a computer screen and overexposure to ultraviolet rays.

Industries at Risk

The jobs that are at risk are the ones associated with the causes listed above. For the acute portion, that means any position that works with heavy tools, involves heavy lifting, requires the handling of chemicals, or frequently has dangerous projectiles flying through the air. An example of projectiles is wood shards in a lumber operation. For the continual portion, office jobs that involve constant computer use are at the highest risk. The specific jobs that report the highest numbers of eye injuries to include electricians, welders, carpenters, mechanics, and data analysts.


Vision loss does not always mean going completely blind. In fact, there is a broad range of severity that workers can experience. First, their vision can merely get worse, forcing them to get glasses or get eye surgery. Next, they can lose just one of their eyes due to an acute injury. Lastly, they can lose functionality in both eyes and go blind.


The best way to avoid vision loss is by using protective gear. In blue-collar work, that will generally mean wearing goggles. These will block chemicals and projectiles very well, and likely keep your eyes safe. In a white-collar setting, there are special glasses you can wear to reduce eye strain when looking at a computer all day.

Hopefully, you can avoid eye injuries and vision loss altogether by wearing protective gear and being careful. If, however, you do suffer an eye injury as a result of your job, you should speak with an experienced work injury lawyer. There are two factors that make these cases so complicated. First, vision loss can take a long time to develop. While some injuries are acute, others develop slowly. When an ailment has no acute event that caused it, getting compensation is more difficult. Second, the range of severity makes it hard to determine how much payment is due. Deciding what amount of benefits to target is a decision best made by a lawyer who has experience with these cases. Give us a call 24/7 at (816) 399-3706 for FREE legal advice.

Updated: August 21, 2019

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