Eye Safety in the Home
What’s more dangerous to your eyes? Working on a construction site or doing household chores? If you guessed neither you’re correct. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual Eye Injury Snapshot project, the risk is similar.
“It is often the most common household chores and activities that can lead to devastating eye injuries,” said Randolph L. Johnston, MD, past president of the Academy.
Each year in the U.S. 2.5 million eye injuries occur with about half occurring around the house. Yard work is the single most dangerous activity; mowing, weed whacking and the use of pesticides and fertilizers are significant hazards.
Splashes from household cleaners, paints and solvents cause about 125,000 eye injuries a year. Caustic chemicals including ammonia, drain cleaners, dishwashing detergent and oven cleaners can be especially damaging. Immediate flushing of the eye with water either under a faucet or in the shower with the eye held open for 15 minutes is recommended.
The use of power tools during home repair projects also present significant hazards.
Keep tools in good condition; damaged tools should be repaired or replaced. Tools should be turned off when others approach, especially children.
Prevention of injuries is simple and often overlooked – safety eyewear. Surveys reveal that less than 35 percent of people use eye protection while doing their household chores and projects. Ninety percent of injuries are preventable with safety goggles.
Ophthalmologists recommend that every household have at least one pair of American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved eyewear. They should have the “Z-87” logo stamped on the frames and can be purchased inexpensively at hardware stores and home building centers.