Friday, July 13, 2012

Eye Safety

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By Diane Forrest, RN

When I was growing up it seems like all the boys I knew had bb guns.  For every boy with a BB gun you could hear his mother say, "Be careful, you could put someone's eye out with that!"  I never knew anyone who had their eye put out, but I did know that all the boys were taught safety with their bb guns.

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Eyes are a precious and vital organ.  Protecting your eyes and sight are extremely important.  Accidents are always around the corner and can happen at any time.

Below are some facts and myths about eye injuries:
  • Men are more likely to sustain an eye injury than women.
  • Most people believe that eye injuries are most common on the job — especially in the course of work at factories and construction sites. But, in fact, nearly half (44.7 percent) of all eye injuries occurred in the home, as reported during the fifth-annual Eye Injury Snapshot (conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma).
  • More than 40 percent of eye injuries reported in the Eye Injury Snapshot were caused by projects and activities such as home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking. More than a third (34.2 percent) of injuries in the home occurred in living areas such as the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living or family room.
  • More than 40 percent of eye injuries every year are related to sports or recreational activities.
  • Eyes can be damaged by sun exposure, not just chemicals, dust or objects.
  • Among all eye injuries reported in the Eye Injury Snapshot, more than 78 percent of people were not wearing eye wear at the time of injury. Of those reported to be wearing eye wear of some sort at the time of injury (including glasses or contact lenses), only 5.3 percent were wearing safety or sports glasses.

Thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection. Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation.
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OSHA requires employers to ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. Eye and face protection must be provided whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical irritants and hazards. But for those injuries that occur at home, the few seconds to put on safety glasses while performing a task could make a huge difference in preventing injury.  My husband enjoyed woodworking in his shop.  That required cutting wood, sanding wood, and shaving wood on a lathe.  Using a lathe sends tiny wood particles out into the room, and the chances of it getting in his eyes were great.  he never worked out in his shop without putting his goggles and face mask on.  The same precautions are also necessary when out in the yard cutting or weed eating grass.

Not only do you need to protect your eyes from foreign particles, but also from dangerous chemicals and even the sun.
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If you don’t have any safety goggles or glasses, stop by the store to pick up a few pairs, it’s a small investment to protect your eyesight, which is irreplaceable.

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