What do a bungee cord, a pan of frying bacon and lawn-care chemicals have in common? They are just a few of the common items around the house that can cause eye injuries. Most North Americans think that eye injuries are a workplace phenomenon or related to events like fireworks displays. In fact, we are more likely to be injured in our homes from common everyday activities like mowing the lawn, cooking, cleaning and do-it-yourself home improvement projects that impact both participants and bystanders.
Preventing an eye injury is much easier than treating one. Ninety percent of all eye injuries can be prevented by simply wearing protective eyewear. It is recommended that every household have at least one pair of CSA or ANSI -approved* protective eyewear to be worn when doing projects and activities at home to safeguard against eye injuries.
A recent survey looking at eye injuries treated in the United States found that:
- Nearly half of all eye injuries occur at home, with more than 40 percent happening during everyday activities like cooking, home repairs or yard work.
- Men were more likely to be injured (74 percent) than women (26 percent).
- Seventy-eight percent of eye injuries occurred to individuals who were not wearing protective eyewear during the time of the injury.
- Nearly half of all injuries were to individuals between the ages of 18 and 45.
- Around the home, the majority of eye injuries occurred in the yard (39.4 percent), garage (11.8) and workshop (8.1 percent). Yet in-home locations, such as the kitchen, family room, bedroom and bathroom were also significant areas prone to injury, accounting for more than 34 percent of all eye injuries reported.
Slipping on a pair of safety glasses is quick and easy. Unfortunately, compared to other common-sense safety steps, such as wearing seatbelts, using protective eyewear does not happen frequently enough. Bystanders can also be injured and should take precautions against eye injuries as well.
Most of us understand that you need safety glasses when using power tools, but the threat to your eyesight lurks even in basic home repairs and cleaning. People should use protective eyewear during any potentially hazardous tasks around the house, from cleaning your oven with a chemical cleaner to using bungee cords to hold items in place. In the event that you do suffer an eye injury, have an optometrist or ophthalmologist examine the injury as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor at first.
*CSA and ANSI-approved protective eyewear is manufactured to meet the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or American National Standards Institute (ANSI) eye protection standard. This protective eye wear can be easily purchased from most hardware stores nationwide and can be identified by the mark “Z94” or “Z87” placed on the eye wear. Safety eyewear is also available with prescription lenses from your optometrist. CSA and ANSI-approved protective eyewear is not approved for use in sports. To locate appropriate eyewear for specific sports talk to your optometrist.