In a split second – or the blink of an eye – an eye injury can cause serious damage to your vision and change your life. It’s been estimated that one million people each year suffer eye injuries in the United States alone, and a large majority of these injuries are preventable. July is Eye Injury Prevention Month, and Dr. Michael Manning and the team here at Gulfcoast Eye Care have some tips on protecting your eyes from harm at work, at home, and at play.
The most important thing you can do to keep your eyes safe is to wear protective eyewear while engaging in certain activities. Some of the most common activities that can lead to eye injury include:
Setting Off Fireworks – This is a big one, especially in July. Thousands of eye injuries each year are due to improper protection around sparklers, bottle rockets, and other types of fireworks. One of the best ways for both children and adults to protect themselves from fireworks is to only attend professional fireworks events shown for the public as opposed to utilizing purchased fireworks at home. In many areas it is illegal to set off home fireworks; however, if you live in a state where it is legal and you are planning a fireworks show at home, here are some safety tips: you should never touch unexploded fireworks (call your local police or fire department for help). Also, never let children play with fireworks, including sparklers, and make sure all bystanders are at a safe distance and are wearing eye protection. And don’t forget your own protection as well!
Working – Think about your environment at work and the work that you do, whether you are in a factory or even an office environment. The workplace is one of the more common areas where dangerous substances can harm the eyes – please be sure to wear protection.
Performing Home Maintenance – Whether you are making repairs, building a new piece of furniture, or just cleaning the house, it’s important to protect your eyes. Remember, household chemicals can be very dangerous, so please read the warning labels and instructions, use protective eyewear, point spray nozzles away from your face, and be sure the area you are working is well-ventilated.
Performing Yard Maintenance – Yard work is another common activity that can cause devastating eye injuries. Lawnmowers, hedgers, and trimmers can shoot dangerous projectiles at lightning speed. Wear adequate protection and remember that bystanders are at risk as well.
Performing Car Maintenance – Sparks, acid, and debris can occur during car maintenance, especially when you are trying to jump-start a battery. Goggles should be kept handy in your car to use during any type of auto maintenance.
Participating in Sports – Most types of sports, especially contact sports, require eye protection. Baseball, cycling, soccer, paintball, racket sports, basketball, hockey, are just some of the sporting activities in which you should wear protective goggles.
Being Outside in the Sun – The sun’s rays are not just harmful to your skin – the eyes need protection as well. Please wear sunglasses with UV protection.
If you suffer an eye injury, it’s vital to seek help immediately, even if you don’t think it’s that serious. With some precautionary measures and awareness of your environment, you can go a long way in preventing eye injuries and protecting your vision for years to come!