Jul-eye: How to observe eye injury prevention month

eye injury preventionIt’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. Actually, most eye injuries occur at work. Approximately 2,000 workers experience a job-related eye injury requiring medical care every day in the United States. Just ask Lenny; his eye is not supposed to get objects in it. However, eye injury prevention is not limited to the workplace; protective eyewear should also be worn during certain sports activities and sometimes even at home. After all, we can’t all have our eye sockets sealed with vision-enhancing lenses like Molly Millions – aka Sally Shears.

Eye injury protection at work

Eye injury can occur in almost every line of work, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 40% of injuries take place among mechanics, repairers, carpenters, plumbers, and other craft workers; more than a third injured workers are assemblers, sanders, grinding machine operators, and other kinds of operators; and one fifth of injuries occurred to laborers. About 70% of injuries are provoked by small particles or objects such as metal slivers, wood chips, dust, and cement chips which are either ejected from machines and tools – like power grinders, buffers, saws, drills, and sanders (not Steve) – or which fall from above (by the way, keep in mind that when somebody yells ‘heads up,’ you’re not supposed to actually look up).

Approximately one third of job-related eye injuries require treatment in an ER, and more than a 100 of the aforementioned 2,000 result in one or more days of lost work. Therefore, eye injury prevention is an issue that interests both workers and employers. Here are a few measures that the latter may implement in the workplace:

  • Detect areas and operations that pose eye injury risks.
  • Choose protective eyewear that is designed for specific tasks. Additionally, eyewear should fit the workers comfortably. That means each employee should have his or her own gear, preferably individually fitted by an eye care professional.
  • Establish first-aid procedures in case of eye injury-related emergencies.
  • Educate the workers about eye hazards and the importance of eye injury prevention.
  • Have management lead by example by wearing protective eyewear when and where required.
  • Create an eye safety policy and display it in areas where it will conspicuous. Review the safety program regularly and update it as necessary.

People who work with infectious materials deserve special mention, as they may be exposed to viruses and bacteria that can enter through the mucous membranes of the eye. These workers are recommended to use one or more of the following pieces of eye protective gear:

Eye safety at home                               

Your home may not require the same level of protection as industrial work, but that doesn’t mean you’re exactly ‘home-free,’ so to speak. For example, the chemicals that a housewife uses to clean around may not be the same used at a factory or laboratory, but they still warrant safety measures. Similarly, activities such as welding or mowing the lawn which can also take place at home, call for the proper protective eyewear equipment. Even breakfast can be a dangerous activity, especially is someone is eating a grapefruit with a spoon. Pulp can move, baby!

Eye protection while playing sports

Eye injuries in sports have been common since King Henry II of France died of septicemia after a shard of Gabriel Montgomery’s splintered lance went through Henry’s eye and into his brain during a jousting tournament. Today’s sports aren’t as violent – or as entertaining – but then again, wrestling isn’t the only sport in which you can expect a thumb to the eye it is recommended to use protective eyewear when taking part in the following sports:

  • Indoor racket sports.
  • Paintball.    
  • Baseball.    
  • Basketball.    
  • Hockey.    
  • Cycling.    
  • Riding a being a passenger on a motorcycle.

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