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Promoting Children’s Eye Health

Kids are back to school with all the necessary supplies. Fall sports are underway with all the required gear. It’s a positive start to the school year, ready to be the best one yet.Children's Safety Glasses

To make sure that happens, take time to consider your children’s eye health too since roughly 80% of what a child learns in school is information presented visually. Add to this the fact that there are 42,000 sports-related eye injuries each year, and the majority of them happen to children.

For these reasons, take time to promote good eye health for your children.

10 Ways to Promote Good Eye Health for Your Child

  1. See the pediatrician yearly. Experts agree that eye exams performed during well-child visits help detect problems with a child’s eye health, allowing for early treatment.
  2. Consider family history. Since nearsightedness, color blindness, and lazy eye (amblyopia) are often inherited, consider family history when assessing your children’s vision health.
  3. Get an eye exam before 1st grade. More than 12 million children suffer from vision impairment, that’s 25% of school-aged children with vision problems. Get your child’s first eye exam before entering 1st grade & then regularly after to help detect & treat impairments early.
  4. Let go of common myths. Sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes and eating a lot of carrots will improve your eyesight are common myths about children’s eye health. Educate yourself about Children’s Eye Health Myths and Facts to make sure your efforts are focused in the best way possible.
  5. Understand the relationship between vision & learning. While the more obvious signs of vision problems in children, such as not being able to see the chalkboard, are usually detected fairly easily, learning-related vision problems often are not. Realizing that a child struggling in school may have a learning-related vision problem may be the key some parents need to truly helping their children succeed. Take time to understand types of learning-related vision problems and their symptoms, especially if your child seems to be struggling with no obvious reason why.
  6. Remember sports safety. Since the majority of sports-related eye injuries happen to children, wearing protecting eyewear while participating in sports or recreational activities is a must. Make sure safety eyewear fits the child and the activity properly.
  7. Make sure kids wear sunglasses. Dr. Mark Borchert, division head of The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital LA says, “The lens of a child allows 70% more UV rays to reach the retina than in an adult. Learn the basics of sun safety to protect not only your child’s skin but eyes as well.
  8. Encourage a healthy diet. The best ways to do this include setting a good health example and make healthy options available at home, especially vegetables and dark leafy greens that contain many eye-healthy vitamins and minerals. In addition, talk to your doctor about a good multivitamin for children.
  9. Promote safety around the home. The Importance of Good Eye Safety Habits becomes clear when you realize that 45% of eye injuries happen in the home with many of those happening to children. Take time to be safe while working and playing at home, and this begins with having safety glasses available for everyone.
  10. Be aware of symptoms of vision problems. From poor performance in school and difficulty paying attention to headaches, eye pain and trouble seeing information on a chalk board, knowing the common symptoms of vision problems in children as well as their associated disorders can go a long way in detecting and treating problems early.

Children can’t always tell if there is something wrong with their eyes. They simply accept what they see as normal. Having parents who educate themselves on children’s eye health is important for detecting and treating vision problems early. In addition, taking steps to ensure good eye health through diet and safety measures adds another level of protection for a lifetime of healthy vision.

Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Caution - Safety Glasses RequiredIn order to prevent the over 25,000 eye injuries occurring each year, eye safety must be a daily priority in the workplace. To help in that prevention effort, Prevent Blindness America has declared March to be Workplace Eye Wellness Month as a way to reemphasize the importance of keeping eyes safe while at work.

To that end, let’s look at ways to promote eye wellness in the workplace and thus help reduce the number of eye injuries on the job.

  1. Wear proper eye protection. About 90% of eye injuries in the workplace can be prevented through the wearing of proper eye protection. Do this by first knowing what’s available and then by choosing the best option for your situation.
  2. Follow employer guidelines. OSHA requirements provide clear guidelines for employers, and Promoting Workplace Safety is essential to eye injury prevention. Yet, none of these guidelines and programs matter if individuals fail to follow them.
  3. Keep eye protection clean & clear. Make sure you have Good Habits for Safety Glass Maintenance to help ensure your eye protection is working optimally at all times.
  4. Give your eyes a break. Managing Electronic Display Eye Strain will go a long way in keeping eyes healthy and strong as well as prevent long-term and possibly permanent damage to eyes.
  5. Establish habits. While your employer may and hopefully does have a workplace eye safety program, the health of the eyes is ultimately up to the individual. For this reason, be sure to understand the Importance of Good Eye Safety Habits.

For those wanting to take eye wellness a step further, Prevent Blindness America offers several options including vision screening programs and educational resources.

While not all injuries in the workplace can be prevented, a lot can be done to greatly reduce not only the number of injuries sustained but also the severity of the injuries that do take place. If an eye injury does take place, promote a return to eye wellness by doing the following BEFORE you need to know what to do.

  1. Know what to do when an injury happens. We must all ask the question, “Do you know what to do?” when an eye injury occurs. Take steps to make sure the answer to that question is “Yes!” before you need to know.
  2. Understand the most common causes of injury. Knowing the Most Common Types of Eye Injuries can not only help prevent them, but it can also help in knowing what to do when they happen.

First and foremost, wear eye protection and wear the right eye protection to make sure eyes remain healthy while at work. After that, take steps to educate yourself. Learn the steps for preventing eye injury, and learn what to do when an eye injury happens. Taking these steps will help to ensure that workplace eye wellness is a way of life and not just a once-a-year focus.

5 Most Common Types of Eye Injuries

In the United States, over 2.5 million eye injuries happen every year with 50,000 people actually losing at least part of their vision as a result. Of that 2.5 million, almost 18% are caused by projectile objects, 13% by blunt objects, 10% by body parts (fingers, elbows, fists, etc.), and 9% by sharp objects.

Of the millions of eye injuries that take place each year, almost half of them (44%) occur in the home and 40% during sport activities. The remaining 16% is taken up by miscellaneous injuries and work-related injuries.

So, regardless of location and how the injury happens, what types of injuries happen most frequently? The following are the 5 most common.

  1. Scratched Eye. Most commonly, an eye becomes scratched when a foreign body enters it and the individual then rubs the eye in an attempt to remove the irritation. Eyes also become scratched when they are poked by a foreign body. A scratched eye can become serious very quickly, with a fungal infection for example, so seeing a doctor if there is noEye Protection improvement in a day or two is crucial. In addition, a scratched eye can be worse for individuals who wear contacts.
  2. Chemical Burn. This type of injury can happen when a chemical is splashed into the eye or transferred from an individual’s hands. Fumes and vapors can also cause chemical burn to eyes. Finding out the type of chemical, acid or alkali, is crucial since one (acid) can be washed out more easily than the other (alkali). If eyes become red or blurry or do not improve after 24 hours, see a doctor.
  3. Flash Burn. Burns to the eyes also can come from sources such as sunlight, welding, tanning booths and sunlamps. Protecting eyes against sunburn, Yes, Your Eyes Can Get a Sunburn, and taking precaution in welding and other situations is key to preventing flash burns.
  4. Foreign Object in Eye. An object in the eye often leads to a scratched eye (see #1 above), and can be caused even just by an eyelash, dust, contacts and makeup. While time and eye flushing can remove these objects, when a foreign object, such as a fish hook, actually penetrates the eye, self removal is not a good idea. Instead, getting to a doctor right away is important.
  5. Blow to the Eye. These types of injuries happen often in sports, and the result is usually a swollen, black and blue eye. It’s important to check for additional injury, such as a broken eye socket or internal damage, when a blow to the eye occurs.

Perhaps the most startling fact regarding eye injuries, regardless of type and cause, is that 90% of ALL eye injuries could be prevented by wearing protective eyewear. Yet, only 50% of people wear them when working around the house, which is the most likely place to receive an eye injury.

The second factor crucial in preventing permanent eye damage and vision loss is knowing what to do, and sometimes more importantly what NOT to do, if injury does occur.

The following resource list will help you take these two crucial steps, wearing protective eye wear and being prepared if injury does occur.

Take Time to Focus on Eye Health & Safety

Fishing: A Dangerous Sport?

How to Remember to Wear Sunglasses

UV Protection – Eliminating Excuses

Be Eye Safety Conscious: 5 Ways To Prevent Common Eye Irritations

Basic Welding Safety

Eye Emergencies: Do You Know What to Do?

Eye Injuries Can Occur at Any Time and in Any Place

Importance of Good Eye Safety Habits

Safety Eyewear and Emergency Eyewash: Prevention and Preparation Matter

Safety Eyewear in the Kitchen: For Adventurous Chefs to Everyday Cooks