Eye injuries happen every day, so protecting your eyes is one of the simplest ways to maintain healthy vision throughout your life. The good news is that 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable just by wearing appropriate protective eyewear. Learn more about eye injuries and how to prevent them with these tips.
Eye Injury Facts
People often think of eye injuries as happening at work, but nearly half of all eye injuries happen at home. Here are some other things you might not know about eye injuries:
- Sun exposure can damage eyes.
- Eye injuries are more common among men than women.
- Bystanders are also at risk when workers are using dangerous tools or chemicals.
- Over 2,000 people suffer from eye injuries at work each day.
- Over 25,000 people each year seek treatment for eye injuries related to sports.
- Among sports-related eye injuries, 43 percent are to children 14 or younger.
- An emergency room sees a patient with a sports-related eye injury every 13 minutes.
- Over 78 percent of people who reported eye injuries were not wearing eye protection at the time of the injury.
Prevention at Work
Many workplaces have eye safety regulations designed to protect workers; always carefully follow the safety regulations at your place of work. However, many work-related eye injuries occur when protective eyewear isn’t required, or workers may decide on their own whether or not to wear it. Protect your eyes while at work by following these prevention tips:
- Maintain a safe work environment by minimizing the risk of objects falling and making sure all tools work properly and have appropriate safety features.
- Identify safety hazards, including hazards from nearby workers, falling objects and large machinery.
- Wear proper eye protection for your workplace and make sure it fits correctly.
- Shake, brush or vacuum debris and dust from hard hats, forehead and hair before taking off protective eyewear.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes with dirty clothing or hands.
- Keep your eyewear clean and in good condition.
Prevention at Home
Common household products are involved in 125,000 eye injuries each year. Safety practices, understanding and proper eye protection can prevent 90 percent of these eye injuries, so protect yourself and your family by following these safety tips:
During DIY Projects
- Use safety glasses with eye shields if you might be exposed to flying dust, objects or particles.
- Wear safety goggles around chemicals, even if you are a bystander.
- Supervise children using tools, including forks, knives, scissors and pencils.
- Common household items like bungee cords, paper clips, rubber bands, wire coat hangers and fishhooks can be dangerous and should be kept out of the reach of children.
Working in the Yard
- Wear protective eyewear when doing yard work, such as using a lawnmower, leaf blower or trimmers.
- Remove debris from your lawn before using the lawnmower.
- Keep children out of the yard and away from flying debris while mowing the lawn.
- Store all pool chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and other hazardous substances out of the reach of children.
- Use chemical goggles when applying fertilizers or pesticides.
Cleaning and Cooking
- Use chemicals and cleaners carefully according to the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels, and never mix products.
- Wear chemical goggles when using hazardous chemicals.
- Keep cleaners, chemicals and sprays away from children.
- Use caution when using hot objects or cooking; avoid using a curling iron or other hot object near your eyes.
- Store all sharp kitchen utensils away from children, and don’t place them within your young child’s reach.
- Avoid toys that could cause eye injury such as BB guns, pellet guns and projectile toys like missile-firing toys, darts and bows and arrows.
- Don’t let children use laser pointers; adults should use laser pointers with caution and always avoid pointing them in people’s eyes.
- Keep children safe when dogs are around because eye injuries are common when small children are bitten by dogs.
Prevention During Celebrations
Fireworks can cause serious eye injuries, especially to children; even sparklers and other “safe” fireworks can cause serious injuries. The most common eye injuries related to fireworks were lacerations, foreign bodies and contusions. Protect your kids by not allowing them to play with fireworks, not purchasing fireworks and only attending professional displays by licensed operators.
Champagne is another common part of celebrations that can cause eye injuries. Always take care when opening a bottle of champagne; point the bottle away from yourself and others, cover the bottle with a towel and slowly remove the cork.
Sports Eye Injury Prevention
Sports-related accidents are a common cause of eye injuries. Protect your eyes and your children’s eyes by wearing appropriate eye protection while playing sports.
- Wear sport-protective eyewear labeled ASTM F803 approved when playing basketball or racquet sports
- Batting helmets with face shields should be worn during youth baseball.
- Helmets and face shields that are approved by the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association should be worn during hockey.
- Regular glasses and sunglasses don’t provide adequate protection and can sometimes make injuries worse than not wearing any eyewear.
Taking steps to prevent eye injuries is an important part of maintaining overall eye health. If you or your child does suffer from an eye injury, seek medical attention immediately.