Eye Injury Misconceptions

Edge Falcon Tactical Safety Glasses with Black Frame and G-15 Lens

Edge Falcon Tactical Safety Glasses with Black Frame and G-15 Lens

Eye injury is one of the most prevalent injuries in the workplace and on the sports field, but it is also the easiest to prevent. The following addresses three of the most common misconceptions related to eye injury as well as solutions to the issues they present.

  1. Safety glasses are not suitable for preventing all types of eye injuries. According to Achieve Safety, safety glasses are best for preventing injuries from particles or objects that come straight towards a person’s eye. In other words, a foreign object can still come in through the sides or perhaps come in under safety glasses and damage the eye.

Wearing the right type of protection for different eye hazards is essential in preventing them. For example, when performing tasks where a foreign object can get in through the sides or bottom of safety glasses, like when using a grinding wheel or rotating wire brushes, wear goggles or perhaps a full face shield plus goggles. The bottom line is to wear the correct gear for the task at hand, and one type of protection does not necessarily work for all circumstances.

  1. Wearing regular sunglasses or eyeglasses will not prevent sports injuries and often can make an injury worse. Eye2Brain says that fashion sunglasses and eyeglasses made for vision correction only do not protect against sports injuries because they are made from different material than protective athletic eyewear. In fact, fashion sunglasses and corrective eyeglasses often make an injury worse or even cause an injury when they shatter from a blunt force and the pieces go into the eye.

Choose the best athletic eyewear for your specific activity. A solution exists for every sport from fishing to baseball to running.

  1. While most people realize the damage the sun can do to skin, many still fail to realize how much the sun can also damage the eyes. In ‘Eye’ didn’t know that: 5 leading misconceptions about eye health, Lisa Rademakers addresses some of the leading misconceptions about eye health, including sun damage. The article states that there are a variety of eye conditions that can be caused by sun exposure, including cataracts and macular degeneration.

To protect eyes, wear sunglasses that protect against UVB and UVA rays. In addition, wearing an amber-colored lens can not only provide added protection but can also increase visibility by increasing contrast and decreasing glare.

While every person has unique needs with regard to protective eyewear, there is no shortage of eyewear to meet every person’s unique needs. From medical safety eye protection to sports eyewear to RX ready safety eyewear, an affordable solution exists to meet every unique situation.

Take the time to analyze your specific needs and where you feel you are most at-risk for eye injury. Then, take the time to find the best solution for avoiding one of the most preventable injuries that people sustain, injury to the eyes.

Who Is At Greatest Risk For Eye Injury?

Raquetball_PlayerAlmost half of the 2.5 million eye injuries reported annually occur in individuals ages 18-45. The second largest age group (25%) receiving the most eye injuries are children. Even more specifically, older teens and young adults in their late twenties present the highest numbers within these groups. Of the total number of injuries, 73% of them are received by males.

Older teens and young adults receive the majority of their eye injuries from sports. The rate of injury for this group when playing sports is highest in sports like basketball, football, soccer and leisure sports (golf, tennis, bowling, etc.). Fighting and typical horsing around account for a portion of eye injuries in this age group as well. In addition, older teens generally tend to fail to pay attention to printed warnings about potential eye injury.

In addition to eye injury from sports and horsing around, young adults also receive many of their eye injuries from yard work, flying particles in a work area and from chemicals. Eye injury for women in this group also often comes from mascara wands and scratches from fingernails. In addition, young adults receive a number of eye injuries from exploding grills and fireplaces as well as from fireworks.

Older adults do not escape eye injury by any means with nearly 27% of injuries reported annually being received by individuals 46 and older. Much of the same causes of eye injury in individuals below 46 result in eye injury for those over that age, just not as many. Perhaps this is because caution increases and activity decreases with age, at least for some individuals.

There is one factor that remains constant throughout age groups and regardless of type of injury. And that factor is that the majority of ALL of these eye injuries can be prevented. The single best way to prevent eye injury, regardless of age and activity, is by wearing protective eyewear. In fact, 90% of eye injuries are preventable by wearing protective eyewear.

Fortunately, a plethora of options exist to fit every age and activity, which means few excuses exist for not wearing protective eyewear in any and every situation. There is sports eyewear, over-prescription eyewear, safety sunglasses, shooting glasses and Rx ready eyewear. Safety eyewear even exists specifically made for women and children.

For individuals needing safety eyewear for multiple situations, there’s convertible safety eyewear and multi-lens safety eyewear too. From motorcycle eyewear to safety goggles, the options available really eliminate excuses that sometimes seem to cross age and gender lines.

Eye injury, while more prevalent in some age groups over others, really does not have an age or gender bias. For this reason, both men and women regardless of age can do the one thing that will start to reduce that 2.5 million eye injuries per year… wear protective eyewear!

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!