William Shakespeare once said, “Your eyes are the window to your soul.” A true statement indeed, however your eyes are also the window to your world. Protecting your eyes from injury is one of the simplest things you can do to keep your vision healthy throughout your life. While you may be aware of some of the basic possibilities of eye injuries, ask yourself this question: Am I doing everything I can to protect my eyes from potential injuries? If you answered no, you’re not alone.

More than one million people suffer from eye injuries each year in the United States. Most of these injuries could have been prevented had the individual been wearing appropriate protective eyewear. The leading causes of eye injuries include sports accidents, home fireworks displays, household chemicals, workshop projects and yard debris.

Prevention Tips

  • Fireworks - Simply put, the best way to avoid injuries from fireworks is to attend a professional public fireworks display rather than purchasing them for home use. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, one in six firework injuries harm the eyes. Almost half of all firework-related injuries are children age 15 and under.
  • Home - Nearly half of all eye injuries each year occur in and around the home, and home-based injuries are increasing each year. Wear safety glasses when using any power tool, mowing the lawn or trimming hedges or bushes. Remember to wear rubber gloves when handling chemicals such as oven cleaner, bleach or lawn and garden products. Be careful cooking foods that can splatter hot grease or cooking oil. Loose throw rugs or stair railings can cause falls or slips. And, after a hard day’s work, pop that champagne cork carefully!
  • Sports - The level of eye protection will vary depending upon the activity. Protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses should be worn for sports such as basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey. Choose eyewear that has been tested and approved by the American Society of Testing and Materials standards or the CSA racquet sports standards. In baseball, ice hockey or lacrosse, helmets with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield should be worn.
  • Place of Employment - Eye injuries at work range from simple eye strain to severe trauma that can cause permanent damage. Almost half of eye injuries sustained on the job happen in the fields of manufacturing, construction and mining. If you work in any of these fields, be sure to wear OSHA approved protective eyewear. Just as important is the knowledge of any and all eye safety dangers at your place of employment. Before starting your work shift, eliminate potential hazards by checking machine guards, work screens or other engineering controls.

If an eye injury occurs, see your eye doctor or go to the emergency room right away, even if the eye injury appears minor. Delaying medical attention can result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

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