Taking a Close Look at Eye Safety

October is Eye Injury Prevention month, so let’s take a moment to look at what we can do to prevent eye injuries. An important statistic to consider is that, of the more than 700,000 eye injuries sustained in Canada annually, over half happen at home. At work, there are more than 700 eye injuries daily. Now consider that over 90 percent of these injuries, both at work and at home, could have been prevented by using proper eye protection. These are eye opening figures.

Protecting Your Eyes at Home

So many day to day chores around the house can put your vision at risk, and most people aren’t even aware of the danger. From grease splashes while cooking, to flying dirt and debris while mowing the lawn, to chemical burns when cleaning, your eyes are constantly being put in danger’s path, while we are blissfully unaware. Many of these dangers can be easily negated by simply donning a pair of wraparound safety goggles while cleaning up around the house, yard or garden. Place a pair of safety goggles with your cleaning supplies, hang a pair on your lawnmower and include a pair with your gardening tools and make wearing them a part of your everyday routine. A simple precaution to assure that you have vision for life.

Workplace Eye Safety

Since over a quarter million people per year sustain a work related eye injury, and since the majority of these injuries result in temporary, if not permanent, time off work, and partial or complete vision loss, finding a way to lower these numbers should be seen as a high priority. The biggest problem is that the vast majority of these injuries could be prevented simply by wearing safety goggles. Ironically, the goggles are often available at the workplace, they just aren’t worn. But why wouldn’t someone wear a piece of safety equipment that is made available?  Some excuses include: “I don’t like wearing glasses over glasses,” “They don’t fit properly,” “They are uncomfortable,” “They look funny,” “I can’t see clearly through them,” “They aren’t really necessary,” “My boss doesn’t wear them, so why should I?” To make sure that your employees actually wear the safety equipment provided, safety meetings should be held to discuss the importance of using proper safety equipment. Invite employee input, find out what they would like to see in safety equipment. Don’t go cheap; get regulation, well fitting, comfortable vision protection that meets both safety standards and your employees’ needs. Above all, follow the same rules that you apply to your employees. Wear the same equipment you require them to wear. They are watching you. As an employee, follow your company’s safety rules. They are in place for a reason.

Eye Safety at Play

Although not as high as home or work related eye injuries, sport related vision damage is also a concern. The highest rate of eye injury comes from sports that involve direct, person to person, contact: boxing, wrestling, martial arts, hockey, football, basketball, etc. Most of these injuries come from a blow to the eye, or from a finger or other object poked into the eye. As with other eye injuries, these injuries can also be prevented through the use of proper safety equipment: helmets with visors or other vision protection. There is no way to protect yourself from every potential eye injury, but proper preventative equipment can lower the chances of it happening to you.

What do I do if I sustain an eye injury?

If you, or someone you know, sustains an eye injury, it is important to act quickly. Do not rub or poke at the injury. In fact, the less you attempt to do yourself, the better. If there is swelling, provide a cool, but not damp, compress, provided there is no bleeding. If there is bleeding, you may bandage it, as long as the material you use does not cling to the eye. Do not apply any ointments of salves. In every case, transport the person as quickly as possible to the nearest medical facility and let the professionals handle it. Once you have seen a medical professional and received emergency treatment, make sure to book an appointment with your optometrist for a follow up. Never take chances with your vision.

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