For many Americans, home improvement projects define this time of year. Surprisingly, though, projects around the house can be a major threat to eye safety. Nearly half of all serious eye injuries occur at home, yet only 35 percent of Americans wear protective eyewear during projects that could pose a threat to their eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people keep protective eyewear on hand and wear it during activities that pose a risk to eye safety. More details can be found at www.geteyesmart.org.
Hazardous activities at home include:
- Cleaning: Chemicals like bleach in household cleaning products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year.
- Home Improvement: Screws, nails and hand tools can become projectiles, while power tools can propel wood chips or other substances into the air.
- Yard Work: Lawn mowers, trimmers and even shovels can throw dirt and debris into the air, and branches, twigs and thorns can also be dangerous.
The good news is that protective eyewear reduces your risk for an eye injury by 90 percent.
“Unfortunately, most people don’t think about eye protection for home projects until it is too late,” said Lynn Polonski, M.D., an ophthalmologist who specializes in ocular trauma at University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Polonski made headlines last year when he saved a man’s vision after a serious gardening accident. The patient had been working in the yard when he fell onto pruning shears. One of the handles went into his eye socket and became lodged in his head. Dr. Polonski was able to save the patient’s vision – but many are not so lucky.
“Don’t risk a lifetime of vision loss – use protective eyewear,” said Dr. Polonski.
Master carpenter Norm Abram from the PBS series, This Old House, sets a great example with his commitment to protective eyewear.
Anyone who experiences an eye injury should seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.). For more information about eye health and injury prevention, visit www.geteyesmart.org.