April is Eye Health Awareness Month, so what better time to explore how to avoid common causes of eye injury to keep your eyes healthy for a lifetime.
Our eyes provide us with a gateway to the world and everything in it. Yet, how often do we think about all they do for us and how important it is to protect them? At Eyes Focused on You, our primary goal is to provide education to our patients to empower them to take charge of their health and the health of their families. Here, we discuss common activities that can lead to serious eye injuries, and how you can prevent them.
Cutting the grass? Hanging a door? Household projects require proper eye protection.
You don't have to be a professional carpenter or stone mason to wear proper protective eyewear -- anyone working with materials that can cause dust or projectiles should protect their eyes. Many everyday household projects may seem safe to tackle but can go horribly wrong if proper safety glasses or goggles are not worn. Working with wood and other construction materials can be particularly hazardous. Sawdust, wood chips, nails, and other flying objects can seriously damage your eyes, with lasting consequences.
Some liquids like stains and varnishes can cause blindness if they get into the eyes, so always read the label and follow instructions for use. Cutting the lawn is another activity that can lead to eye injury. Hidden objects in the grass such as small stones can be shot up into the air with considerable force. So, always adopt a safety-first attitude and put your safety glasses on.
Play sports? Don't overlook the risk of eye injury. Wear the right glasses for the activity.
Any sport involving balls, sticks, bats, pucks or other hard or sharp items has the potential for eye injury. Hockey may be considered one of the riskier sports for an eye injury, but squash is the leader for retinal detachment which is a serious condition requiring surgery. Even swimming on a frequent basis, like with being on a swim team, is not without risk of eye injury because of the ongoing exposure to chlorine. When shopping for sports equipment always ensure that protective eyewear that's appropriate for the sport, is high on your list.
Household cleaners and toiletries -- the hidden risk to your eyes.
Many household cleaners and disinfectants contain harsh chemicals which can cause serious injury if splashed into the eyes. Be extra careful when using these products; wear goggles for safety and always ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area as fumes can also be harmful. If you have children old enough to help around the house, ensure they understand how to use these types of products safely, too. Even personal products such as hairspray can harm the eyes if inadvertently sprayed into them, so always be mindful of the liquid products you use at home.
Toys and eye injuries -- how to avoid them.
There are several toys on the market today that shoot projectiles and some include protective eyewear with the product. However, the eyewear is useless if not worn! Ensure your child understands the very real risk and possible consequences of eye injury if they don't wear the glasses that came with the toy, and supervise play if necessary. If eyewear was included with the product, examine it to ensure it provides clear visibility and is also adequate for the job. If not, replace it with something better. If no eyewear was included, purchase eye protection separately.
The importance of protecting your eyes from the sun.
Ultra-violet and other radiation from the sun can harm our eyes and has been linked to several serious eye conditions including cataracts. As well, new research suggests the sun's high-energy visible radiation (HEV) -- or blue light -- may increase the occurance of macular degeneration. That's why it's very important for you and your family to wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB full-spectrum protection, whenever exposed to sunshine.
Many eye injuries occur because the individual was not wearing eye protection or was wearing the wrong kind. Be sure to fully understand the type of protective eyewear you need for the task at hand, and then ensure you wear it! Remember, your eyes must last you a lifetime. Do you have the protective eyewear in your home for all your family's activities?