October is known as the Eye Injury Prevention Month, thanks to the intervention of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The significance of eye protection is expounded and extrapolated throughout the month and special emphasis is placed on evaluating all possible ways to safeguard your eyes. This issue assumes great importance because over one million Americans get their eyes injured each year out of which, 90% are avoidable.

What is equally alarming is the fact that over 2,000 eye injuries occur at workplaces every day, according to the PBA (Prevent Blindness America). These are attributed to:

  • Sharp/abrasive objects
  • Flying and falling particles
  • Light radiation
  • Chemical irritation and/or spills.

Worse still, around 10-20% of these employees end up suffering a debilitating injury, which also include permanent blindness.

Things to do:

It is our responsibility to make this eye safety campaign a resounding nationwide success. To that end, we can take the following steps to prevent eye injuries:

  • Instructional compliance: It is important to read the instructions carefully while using any hazardous chemicals at home. Use them in a ventilated place and ensure that you don’t bring the spray nozzles anywhere near your eyes. Extending this concept to the workplace, companies must make sure that their employees ensure compliance with each and every eye safety norm carefully before commencing their official duties.
  • Locate eye hazards:  Exercise vigilance while identifying potential eye hazards at work because many of them may not be obvious. Observe substances/objects/dust particles or even remote risks that can trigger eye injury, and immediately escalate them to relevant authorities.

Interestingly, eye hazards must not always be linked to your workplace; they can also exist in your own home in the form of car battery debris, sparks, acids, lawn mowing machines, etc.

  • Prevention is Better Than Cure: The best way to escape eye injury is by taking precautionary measures. You must ensure that your eyewear is effective enough to safeguard your eyes while working. Some effective measures include: Getting regular eye checkups; wearing the right kind of eyewear at work (ventilated safety goggles, welding goggles, face shields, etc); ensuring early diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases.
  • Seeking Medical Help:  Never ever try and self-treat eye cuts, burns, irritations, etc because doing so can even cause permanent eye damage.  If you experience any suspicious eye symptom, consult your eye specialist or visit the ER immediately.