How to Prevent Eye Injuries
Approximately 2.5 million Americans sustain eye injuries every year, with a number of cases resulting in permanent damage or blindness. Fortunately, over 90% of all eye injuries can be prevented with the right protective gear.
Eye Injury Prevention Starts at Home
Although you might think that eye injuries are most likely to happen in the workplace, only about 15% of all eye injury cases happen while on the job. The reality is that nearly half of eye injuries happen in the home, many involving common household items such as curling irons, harsh chemicals, hot oil, and bungee cords. Cooking, cleaning, and routine home repairs cause the majority of injuries in the home.
Many people don’t worry about eye safety when at home, but it’s important to protect yourself whenever engaging in a potentially dangerous activity, even if it’s part of your regular routine. Some tips for protecting your eyes at home include:
- Making sure your tools are in good condition
- Wearing protective glasses when handling small objects
- Wearing protective glasses when exposed to dust or chemicals
- Reading the directions carefully when using heavy-duty chemicals
- Taking proper precautions to not mix chemicals while cleaning or doing other household chores
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 30,000 patients require emergency care for sports-related eye injuries every year. High-contact sports such as hockey, basketball, and boxing pose a great risk for injury if the right precautions are not taken. Protective sports glasses made with shatterproof plastic (also known as polycarbonate lenses) should be worn for high-risk activities. Choose eye protectors that have met the standards of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)), and always keep a first-aid kit handy.
Eye Safety at Work
It is important that employers and employees alike are prepared for safety risks at work. Employers must alert their employees to any potential eye hazards in the workplace and take the proper measures to resolve the situation. Similarly, employees must immediately report any unsafe conditions as soon as they are discovered. This is especially important in industrial work settings, such as manufacturing, construction, and warehousing. For these industries, protective eye and face gear is critical. Employers should follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) eye and face protection standards when it comes to supplying their employees with the proper equipment.
Protect Your Eyes from the Sun
The sun’s rays can do just as much damage as physical force or debris. Extended exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds can burn the corneas like a sunburn, also known as keratitis. Be sure to keep your eyes safe from harmful rays by buying sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection from all UV light.
Your eyes are the window to the world around you. Taking the proper precautions to protect your eyes can help prevent the vast majority of injuries.