House cleaning, home improvements and yard work: for many Americans, these projects define this time of year. But, did you know home projects like these can be a major threat to eye safety? All too often, when we’re working around the house and doing chores that we've done a thousand times before without incident, we forget about the risks we take by not protecting our eyes but all it takes is one split-second accident that could damage your vision for a lifetime." According to the American Academy of Optometry, nearly half of all serious eye injuries occur at home, yet only 35 percent of Americans wear protective eyewear during projects that could pose a threat to their eyes.
Hazardous activities at home include:
Cleaning. Chemicals like bleach in household cleaning products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year. When using hazardous products (e.g., bleach, detergents, cleansers) never mix chemical agents or other caustic substances, always read and follow the manufacturer warnings and guidelines, and always use in well-ventilated areas.Should you get a Chemical burn:
- Immediately flush the eye with water or any other drinkable liquid. Hold the eye under a faucet or shower, or pour water into the eye using a clean container. Keep the eye open and as wide as possible while flushing. Continue flushing for at least 15 minutes.
- DO NOT use an eyecup. DO NOT bandage the eye.
- If a contact lens is in the eye, begin flushing over the lens immediately. This may wash away the lens.
- Seek immediate medical treatment after flushing.
Home Improvement and yard work: Screws, nails and hand tools can become projectiles, while power tools can propel wood chips or other substances into the air.
Roughly 40% of household injuries occur during activities related to yard work. Lawn mowers, trimmers and even shovels can throw dirt and debris into the air, and branches, twigs and thorns can also be dangerous.
- DO NOT rub the eye.
- Allow tears wash the speck out or use an eyewash.
- Try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid.
- If the speck does not wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage it lightly, and see a doctor.
- DO NOT wash out the eye with water or any other liquid.
- DO NOT try to remove an object that is stuck in the eye.
- Cover the eye with a rigid shield without applying pressure. The bottom half of a paper cup can be used.
- See a doctor at once.
The good news is that protective eyewear reduces your risk for an eye injury by 90 percent. Every household have at least one pair of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved eyewear. The eyewear should have the "Z-87" logo stamped on the frames and can be purchased inexpensively at hardware stores and home building centers.
Remember, the simple step of putting on an inexpensive pair of safety glasses can mean the difference between a life of beautiful vision or not!