Posted April 30, 2019
Eye injuries can happen at work or home in an instant—an unexpected squirt of a chemical, a cinder in the air, or a sliver that splinters off during a construction project. Review four eye safety tips.
Know the facts
Consider these eye injury statistics in the United States:
- Each year, over 2 million people experience eye injuries.
- More than 40,000 eye injuries result in permanent visual impairment.
- About 50% of eye injuries occur on the job.
- The other half occur during home repair projects, yard work, cleaning or cooking.
- Over 100,000 eye injuries occur during sports or recreational activities.
- Every 13 minutes a sports-related eye injury is treated in a hospital emergency department or urgent care center.
- Paintball, a recreational activity enjoyed by over 10 million people, often leads to eye injuries. While protected eyewear is required to play, serious eye injuries, such as a ruptured eyeball, detached retinaor permanent vision loss, still occur.
- Common types of eye injuries are abrasions, lacerations or irritations.
- Nearly 90% of eye injuries are preventable if individuals use proper safety eyewear and take precautions to avoid possible unsafe situations.
Wear safety eyewear (glasses, goggles, face shields, helmets)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately three out of five individuals who suffered an eye injury on the job were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. Or, they were using the wrong kind of protective eyewear for that activity.
- For ultimate effectiveness, individuals must wear safety glasses with the Z87 label on the lens or frame. This mark indicates that the glasses meet standards set by the American National Standards Institute for safety glasses, goggles, face shields, welding goggles or sunglasses.
- The eyewear frame should fit properly around the eyes to prevent chemicals or particles from slipping under the edges.
- Approved safety glasses are made from plastic, Trivex™, or polycarbonate materials. Research shows that polycarbonate lenses provide the highest level of eye protection.
- Goggles should shield the entire eye to provide ultimate protection from hazards coming from any direction. Googles should be made of high-impact materials and can be worn over prescription or nonprescription eyeglasses or contact lenses.
- Use a face shield or helmet when welding or working with hot liquids. Wear safety glasses or goggles underneath to ensure eyes are protected when taking off the shield or helmet.
Be proactive in protecting your eyes with these eye safety tips! Before engaging in activities, evaluate if appropriate protective eyewear is needed.
Watch for vision problems
The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that several other vision problems can cause eye injuries, such as flashes of light, floatersor spots or excessive watering or dryness. For ultimate vision care, by age 40 adults should have a baseline comprehensive eye exam, even if they don’t have a vision problem. After that, they should schedule annual exams as directed by their eye doctor. Learn about seven ways to keep your eyes healthy.
Check for vision coverage
Most insurance plans cover the cost of a preventive vision exam. Many plans also pay a portion of the cost for prescription safety glasses, and employers may pay the balance of the cost not covered by insurance. In addition, employers may provide certified nonprescription safety glasses and eyewear or reimburse employees who purchase them for work.
Review three simple tips for healthy eyes.