Take Time to Focus on Eye Health & Safety

With a national focus on eye safety and UV safety during the month of July, now is a great time to focus on and assess your approach to eye safety and UV protection. Begin by asking yourself some simple but significant questions.

Do you wear proper protection in the sun?

Does your workplace have a sufficient eye safety program?

Do you protect your eyes when working around the house?

You only have one set of eyes, so take the time now to properly protect them and prevent illness and injury.

UV Protection

UV radiation during the summer months is three times higher than in the winter, and Yes, Your Eyes Can Get Sunburned. UV radiation can increase the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and more. The EPA states that the best way to achieve maximum eye protection in the sun includes wearing sunglasses that block at least 99% of both UVA and UVB raysalong with a wide-brimmed hat. Contact wearers can also wear UV-blocking contacts.

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Eye Safety

More than two-million eye injuries take place in the U.S. every year. Almost half of those happen in the home or while playing sports with almost the full other half taking place in the workplace. Out of the two-million injuries each year, 90% are preventable. To reduce the chance of becoming a part of these statistics, consistently apply the following safety tips.

  1. Have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear in the house. Of course, having them and using them are two different things. Wear them for activities like yard work where flying debris is common and when cleaning with chemicals that could splash into the eye. Make sure bystanders are wearing them too (yes, that many mean having more than one pair available).
  2. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports. Certified eyewear exists for most sports from fishing and football to golf and cycling. Since such a large number of eye injuries occur during sports each year, the time and money spent to get the right pair at every age (that means kids too) is well worth it.
  3. Promote Eye Safety at Work. OSHA states that more than 1,000 eye injuries occur in the American workplace every day, costing more than $300,000 per year. Make sure your eye safety program at work identifies workplace hazards, makes appropriate eyewear available, provides regular training, promotes the program through visual reminders, and makes emergency treatment options readily available.
  4. Make sure children are protected too. Eye injury often occurs when children play sports, but it also happens a lot when children simply watch adults doing activities such as yard work and fireworks. Teaching children about eye safety is important, as is being a good role model by protecting your own eyes. Instructing children on basic safety measures as well as getting them protective eyewear when they want to help around the house also go a long way in preventing eye injury in children.
  5. Be prepared for an emergency. Accidents will happen, so be prepared when they do. The workplace should have a specific plan of action known to every employee. In the home, make sure an eyewash kit is available and that you know what to do in the case of eye injury. Having a plan of action can prevent injury from becoming worse or permanent.

July presents a great opportunity for focusing on eye health. The sun shines more. People go outside more and are more active. Yard work gets done. Outdoor maintenance takes place. More opportunity means more chances of injury to the eyes. Take this opportunity to assess the state of personal UV protection as well as at-home and workplace eye safety.

Want safety information specific to your favorite activity or event? Check out the articles below!

Yes, Your Eyes Can Get Sunburned: The Dangers of Photokeratitis

Gosh, is it getting hot out there! The temperatures are skyrocketing, the sun is at its brightest, and for many of us, that means spending time in the pool, enjoying the crashing waves of the ocean, relaxing in the sun, or even pursuing some outdoor adventures. We all know how dangerous the sun can be, and we know that sun protection is an absolute must. So we lather on our SPF 50 and go about our day outside. That’s all we really need to do, right?

Your skin isn’t the only part of your body that needs to be shielded from the sun. Your eyes can indeed get sunburned, too. Known as “snow blindness”, “welder’s eye”, or “flash burns”, Photokeratitis is a very real condition that affects your eye’s corneas – in essence, your corneas become “sunburned.” Our team here at Safety Glasses USA has first-hand experienced the damaging effects of photokeratitis, from seeing how the sun can damage the whites of the eyes on a 10 year child to healthy and active thirty-somethings who forget to wear Polarized Sunglasses.

Causes of Photokeratitis

We typically don’t stare directly at the sun (ouch!), so photokeratitis usually occurs when UV rays bounce off a reflective surface and into our eyes. Water, such as the pool or ocean you’re swimming in on a sunny day, unfortunately reflects UV rays exceptionally well, dramatically increasing the risk of your corneas being scorched in the sunlight. Same goes for the bright white of snow, and even sand and concrete! Ever wonder why you’re not supposed to stare directly at a solar eclipse? Photokeratitis is the reason.

Symptoms of Photokeratitis

It’s pretty easy to spot photokeratitis – if your eyes are red or painful, you most likely are experiencing the effects of this condition. Most people experience mild photokeratitis, where your eyes will be red and in light pain for about one to two days. Severe cases include heavy pain in the eyes and lid spasms, and can actually last as long as six days, often requiring the sufferer to wear an eye patch during this time.

Treatment of Photokeratitis

Photokeratitis doesn’t occur immediately – it can be up to six hours after your corneas get “sunburned” until the symptoms really start to set in. Most doctors recommend over the counter pain medications and eye drops to alleviate the pain in your eyes. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, visit your eye doctor immediately, and s/he may subscribe prescription eye ointment and eye patches. Photokeratitis is no miniscule matter – those suffering from a severe case of it are essentially blind while they are recovering from it.

Photokeratitis Prevention

Applying sunscreen to our eyes isn’t exactly a good option, but committing to wearing Polarized Sunglasses that repel harmful UV rays is. Tinted sunglasses aren’t enough – they still allow the pupil to expand and let in UV rays. We suggest keeping a pair of Polarized Sunglasses in your car so that you always have a pair on hand, whether you’re relaxing on a friend’s pool deck or tackling some mountain climbing for the day.

How to Remember to Wear Sunglasses

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

The article UV Protection – Eliminating Excuses, presented 5 facts to help motivate readers to protect their eyes in the best ways possible. In this article, the number one reason for not protecting eyes by wearing sunglasses is addressed.

In a recent survey, most individuals indicated they felt protecting eyes against UV rays was important, and many followed through on that belief by purchasing quality sunglasses. When asked why they failed to wear those sunglasses regularly, many confessed that the main reason they did not wear their sunglasses was, simply, that they forgot.

Since so many people readily admit that forgetting to bring or wear their sunglasses is a problem, the following 5 tips are offered to help build the habit and stimulate the memory for wearing sunglasses.

  1. Have a place for them. Just like with your car keys, sunglasses will likely get lost if they don’t have a home. Many vehicles have a bin for storing sunglasses, and there are a variety of cases available for storing sunglasses that can be put in a bag or even hung on a hook next to your keys. Find a place to always put your sunglasses.
  2. Be consistent. Once you have a place for your sunglasses, be systematic in putting them there. Having a place does absolutely no good if you don’t use it consistently. When going in and out of buildings, such as when shopping at an outlet mall for example, consider a neck strap for your sunglasses to make taking them on and off without losing them of having to put them somewhere easier.
  3. Tell your kids. While forgetfulness seems to be a natural ability of many children, most children also enjoy helping their parents remember what’s important to them. Tell your kids to remind you to wear your sunglasses, and even explain why doing so is important. You might be surprised to find that they can actually be good at reminding you. They feel important, and your eyes get protected.
  4. Buy an extra pair. With sunglasses available in a wide price range, having an extra pair is not a problem. Keep the extra pair in your car or carryall bag, so they are most likely with you at all times. There are a variety of hard cases and pouches available to protect your sunglasses (and many have cleaning cloths in them too), so your sunglasses are in perfect shape when you need them.
  5. Create a mental checklist. Avoid making too long of a list, but create one that includes all of the items you never want to leave home without. A sample list might be: Sunglasses, water bottle and snack. After you have your list, get into the habit of saying it every time you walk out the door. Eventually, remembering those items will be automatic, and you can move on to a new list.

The bottom line is to find a method that works for you. Build positive habits to help you remember your sunglasses simply because doing so can impact your eye health in significant ways.