Often, when we think of our health, we think about our heart, or staying active, or eating well; our eye health is usually overlooked. It’s important to take the time to protect our eyes and prevent illness and injury.
You know to protect your skin from UV radiation with sunblock. When protecting yourself against sunburn, don’t neglect your eyes because yes, they can get sunburned, too (it’s a condition called photokeratitis). UV radiation increases the risk for developing eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Because you can’t put sunscreen on your eyes, the best way to protect them is by wearing sunglasses, particularly polarized lenses that eliminate glare. Choose a pair that has the ability to block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. They should be durable and have good resistance to impact and be a sufficient size to shield the eyes, eyelids, and surrounding areas (wraparound frames are best).
Eye Safety at Home
When doing activities such as yard work, where flying debris is common and even unavoidable, and when cleaning with chemicals that could splash, it’s important to wear ANSI-approved protective eyewear. It’s also important to protect bystanders that can be affected, which means that it’s good to have more than one pair on hand.
Eye Safety for Work & Play
More than half of eye injuries occur while playing sports or in the workplace. Most of these injuries are preventable. When playing sports such as football, golf, or cycling, it’s important to wear appropriate sports eyewear. It’s especially important to consider eye protection for children. Make sure they’re protected when they’re looking on during activities such as yard work or fireworks, and teach them about eye safety. One easy way to do this is to simply model it and let them see how you keep your eyes protected.
Work places should have a good eye safety program that identifies workplace hazards and makes appropriate eyewear available. They should also provide regular training and make emergency treatment options readily available. Make sure that you are keeping your eyes safe in the workplace as well. Just one instance of being careless is enough for an injury to occur.
Even if you take strict care of your eyes, accidents can happen. For this reason, it’s important to have a plan in place in both the workplace and the home, so you know what to do in case of emergency. An emergency eyewash station should be available and you should know first aid tips for common eye injuries. Having a plan of action can prevent injuries from worsening or having permanent effects.