Taking Care of Your Eyes


Recognizing Eye Injury Month, October 2010

Eye injuries can happen in an instant—an unexpected squirt of a chemical, a cinder in the air, or a sliver that splinters off during a home construction project.

Consider these statistics on eye injuries in the United States:

  • Each year approximately 2 million eye injuries occur
  • More than 40,000 of these injuries result in permanent visual impairment
  • About 50 percent of the injuries occur on the job
  • Nearly half of all eye injuries occur at home during home repair projects, yard work, cleaning or cooking
  • More than 100,000 eye injuries from sports or recreational activities occur annually in the United States
  • Every 13 minutes an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury
  • Paintball, a popular recreational activity with more than 10 million participants, is an example of activity with the potential for eye injury. While protected eyewear is required to play, serious eye injuries, such as a ruptured eyeball, detached retina or permanent vision loss, still occur.
  • The most common eye injuries are abrasions, lacerations or irritations
  • Nearly 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable if individuals use proper safety eyewear and take precautions to avoid possible unsafe situations

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately three out of every five individuals experiencing an eye injury on the job were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident or were wearing the wrong kind of protective eyewear for that activity.

For ultimate effectiveness, individuals must wear protective eyewear that follows these guidelines:

  • Meets ANSI Z87.1 standards set by the American National Standards Institute, including safety glasses, goggles, face shields, welding goggles or sunglasses
  • Fits properly around the eyes to prevent chemicals or particles from slipping under the edges of the eyewear
  • Offers the best design for the potential hazard that may be encountered

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that other vision problems may contribute to individuals experiencing eye injuries, such as vision changes, unusual pain, flashes of light, floaters or spots or excessive watering or dryness. For ultimate vision care, adults aged 40 to 65 should have an eye exam every two to four years, and those over age 65 should have an exam every one to two years.

Be proactive in protecting your eyes! Before engaging in activities, take time to evaluate if appropriate protective eyewear is needed.

Have you experienced an eye injury? Did it occur at work or at home? What type of treatment was required? Share your experiences and I’ll post the responses in a future blog. – Scott