You may be aware of some possible risks of eye injuries, but are you taking the easiest step of all to prevent 90 percent of those injuries: wearing the proper protective eyewear? The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma recommend that every household have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear to be worn when doing projects or activities that could create a risk for eye injuries. If you have already experienced some vision loss, it is all the more important to protect yourself with ANSI-approved protective eyewear.
If you are not taking this step, you are not alone. According to a recent national survey by the Academy, only 35 percent of respondents said they always wear protective eyewear when performing home repairs or maintenance; even fewer do so while playing sports.
Among all eye injuries reported in the the fifth-annual Eye Injury Snapshot conducted by the Academy and the American Society of Ocular Trauma, more than 78 percent of people were not wearing eyewear at the time of injury. Of those reported to be wearing eyewear of some sort at the time of injury (including glasses or contact lenses), only 5.3 percent were wearing safety or sports spectacles.
Choose protective eyewear with "ANSI Z87.1" marked on the lens or frame. This means the glasses, goggles or face shield meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 safety standard. ANSI-approved protective eyewear can be easily purchased from most hardware stores nationwide.
Injuries at Home
There is a persistent belief that eye injuries are most common on the job and especially in the course of work at factories and construction sites. In fact, nearly half (44.7 percent) of all eye injuries reported during the fifth-annual Eye Injury Snapshot occurred in the home.
More than 40 percent of the injuries reported were caused by projects and activities such as home repairs, yardwork, cleaning and cooking. More than a third (34.2 percent) of injuries in the home occurred in living areas such as the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living or family room. If you have already experienced some vision loss, it is especially important to properly protect your eyes when using chemicals or tools that may present a hazard.
More information on Eye Injuries at Home from www.GetEyeSmart.org
Tens of thousands of sports and recreation-related eye injuries occur each year. More than 40 percent of eye injuries every year are related to sports or recreational activities. The good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear.
The risk of eye injury can vary depending on the activity. Make sure the level of eye protection you use or a member of your family uses is appropriate. Regular eyeglasses do not offer adequate eye protection. Sports eye protection should meet the specific requirements of that sport; these requirements are usually established and certified by the sport's governing body and/or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Different sports have differing risks to vision. If you have already experienced some vision loss, you may want to take this into consideration when choosing which recreational activities to participate in.
More information on Eye Injuries During Recreation from www.GetEyeSmart.org
The eye protection needed to do your job safely is determined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). To find out what standards apply, check with your company's human resources department, or whoever is charged with overseeing OSHA compliance.
With the exception of welding, which requires additional eye and face protection, OSHA standards may often require the same ANSI-certified eye protection you should use at home.
More information on Eye Injuries at Work from www.GetEyeSmart.org
Each year, thousands of children have eye accidents at home, at play or in the car. These eye injuries can damage a child's sight and even cause blindness.
Many common causes of eye injuries to children involve ordinary objects and situations:
Be sure to provide adequate supervision, find and remove potential hazards to their vision, and model good eye safety practices in your own work and play around the home.
More information on Children's Eye Injuries from www.GetEyeSmart.org
One of the greatest threats to your eyes is invisible. Studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and growths on the eye, including cancer. The Academy stresses the importance of eye protection from the sun's harmful rays by wearing sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats.
The longer the exposure to bright light, the greater the risk is. Excessive exposure to UV light reflected off sand, snow, water or pavement can damage the eyes' front surface. Like your skin, your eyes never recover from UV exposure.
More information on Eye Sun Protection from www.GetEyeSmart.org
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