Eye injuries are the most common causes of blindness – but also the most preventable. As a matter of fact, as many as 90% of all eye injuries can be prevented simply by wearing the proper protective eyewear – something many Canadians fail to do. While some people equate protecting their eyes to just wearing glasses, it’s about much more than that. The type of eye protection you need often depends on the type of activity you’re partaking in; in addition, certain eye injuries also need immediate medical attention to prevent vision loss from occurring.
When it comes to eye injuries that occur at home, these account for more than half of all eye injuries that are reported each year. At-home eye injuries can occur as a result of the use of household cleaner (i.e. bathroom cleaner, bleach, oven cleaner or other common household chemicals), cooking foods that splatter hot oil and/or grease, the drilling or hammering of screws and/or nails into hard surfaces including walls, brick and cement, loose railings, as well as using hot objects such as hair straighteners or curling irons that may accidentally come into contact with the face, including the eyes. Simply being outside in windy conditions can also cause injuries if any particles of dirt or dust get into the eyes. Other at-home and outdoor risks of eye injuries include mowing the lawn and trimming bushes or hedges. In order to diminish the risk of suffering an at-home eye injury, there are some precautions you can take. Always ensure that you read the labels of chemicals carefully. If they are harmful, make sure you try to avoid causing any splashes so that the chemicals do not come in direct contact with your eyes. You should also keep your home – including both in and outdoor areas – free of debris or any loose items that can turn into a projectile and cause a potential eye injury, as well as safely store things like work tools and nails, etc. When cooking, it’s also recommended that you use grease shields to prevent food from splattering.
Because many jobs come with risks, especially those in the construction industry or other similar fields, employers will often require their workers to wear protective gear, such as reflective vests, gloves, and goggle-like eyewear. Things like tools, metal, glass, chemicals, and other particles are all potential risks for eye injuries. To prevent an at-work eye injury from occurring, it’s essential that you abide by any rules set out by your employer, as well as make yourself aware of any other safety policies (and any other potential safety dangers) while on the job. By knowing these things ahead of time, you can easily eliminate certain hazards.
If you or someone you know does develop an eye injury, it’s usually quite obvious. The most common signs of an eye injury include problematic vision (such as blurred vision), pain in the affected eye (or eyes), cut or torn eyelid, difficulty moving one or both eyes, changes in pupil size, blood, or the feeling as though something is stuck in their eye. In some cases, eye injuries may not be immediately obvious. However, in the event that you suspect you do have an eye injury, it’s important that you do not attempt to treat it on your own, as you could cause further and irreversible damage to your vision. You also shouldn’t touch or rub your eyes, apply pressure to the eyes, use any kind of ointment on or in the eyes (including eye drops.) The only time it’s recommended that you rinse your eyes with water is if you have suffered a chemical burn. Still, with any potential eye injury, you should also seek immediate medical attention. A hospital will be better equipped to determine if you have suffered any kind of eye injury, the severity of the injury, and what type of treatment you will need. In some cases you may need to be referred on to an ophthalmologist.