October is Eye Injury Prevention Month, and vision care providers across the country are getting the word out about the importance of protecting eyesight from harmful accidents. Because eye injuries are a leading cause of visual impairment, eye safety is a high priority, especially in the workplace.
But job sites aren’t the only places where eye injuries can occur.
“Many people believe most eye injuries happen on the job,” says Dr. Anna Patterson Armstrong, a Therapeutic Certified Optometrist with Hattiesburg Eye Clinic. “But about half actually occur at home.”
According to Dr. Armstrong, these injuries occur both inside and outside the home, the latter often during home maintenance or yardwork.
“You’re more susceptible to eye injury if you’re working around flying debris or obstacles like low hanging branches,” says Dr. Armstrong. “Individuals should wear protective eyewear like safety glasses or goggles while working in those conditions outside.”
Inside, there’s a risk of eye injury while performing cooking and cleaning chores. “When tackling a sudden mess, for example, you may reach for the nearest cleaner. If it’s a spray or aerosol, some of the harmful chemicals in the cleaner could accidentally enter your eyes.”
As with outdoor activities, Dr. Armstrong advises taking the extra time to put on safety eyewear before engaging in any indoor task involving chemicals or the chance of foreign bodies entering the eye.
Being October, discussions on potential eye injuries would also be incomplete without including Halloween. There’s one “Trick or Treat” costume item of particular concern for eye safety: decorative contact lenses.
“Contact lenses to correct vision are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safety and effectiveness,” says Dr. Armstrong. “For optimal safety, it’s important that you have a complete eye examination and obtain a prescription from an eye doctor before wearing corrective contact lenses.”
Decorative lenses, on the other hand, aren’t subject to the same level of regulation and are available without a prescription. But you might be in for trouble while going for a different eye color or that awesome vampire look.
“Depending on the source, decorative contact lenses could be contaminated or made from sub-standard materials,” says Dr. Armstrong. “You should be aware of their potential eye health risks before wearing them, including allergic reactions, possible eye cuts or abrasions, or infection.”
Dr. Armstrong says it’s best to consult with your eye doctor first before wearing any non-prescription contact lenses, or forgo their use altogether.
Here are some other tips Dr. Armstrong offers for protecting your eyes against accidental damage.
- Wear protective glasses or goggles for any work, home, recreational or sporting activity with a potential for eye injury;
- Wear polarized sunglasses while in the sun to protect your eyes against damaging UV rays;
- Always use cleaning products, fireworks or power equipment according to their directions or safety instructions;
- If you have a chemical splash in the eyes, flush them with clean water and immediately seek medical treatment;
- If you experience a cut, abrasion or foreign body in the eye, or you have any redness, pain or decrease in vision, see your eye doctor or an emergency room immediately.
Your eyes are vulnerable to various environmental hazards that could potentially impair your vision. So, take precautions to prevent an accident—or quick action if one occurs—to avoid harm to your eyesight.
Visit our webpage for more information about your family’s vision care. To learn more about how Hattiesburg Eye Clinic can improve your vision health, call 601-268-5910 (or toll-free 800-624-8254) or schedule a consultation with us online.