There’s No Place Like Home, Especially For Eye Injuries

- Most Eye Injures Can Be Prevented Through Sound Safety Practices and the Use of Proper Eye Protection-

CHICAGO (Sept. 25, 2012) More than half of the 2.5 million eye injuries that occur every year happen within or around the home.  According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, accidental eye injury is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in the United States, yet only 35 percent of Americans wear protective eyewear when doing projects that could threaten their vision.

Injuries can occur from a variety of sources including power tools, yard debris, cleaning fluids and chemicals.  Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has declared October as Home Eye Safety Awareness Month to help educate the public on steps that can be taken to avoid painful eye injuries that, in some cases, may cause permanent vision loss. A web page dedicated to home eye safety education can be found at PreventBlindness.org/eye-safety-home.

“It is so vitally important to think about our eyes and the best ways to protect them, even when we’re doing work around the yard, house or in the garage,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America.  “Eye injuries can happen in a split second but can have impact on vision for the rest of our lives.”

When performing household chores, Prevent Blindness America urges everyone to wear eyewear approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  The eyewear should have the “Z-87” logo stamped on the frames.

Prevent Blindness Americarecommends the following to help prevent eye injuries at home:

  • Wear eye protection when doing automotive work, including changing the oil, jump-starting a dead battery, or even when using bungee cords to secure items to the roof.   
     
  • Secure rugs, remove tripping hazards and provide effective lighting and handrails to improve safety on stairs and walkways to reduce the risk of falls, especially in homes where seniors live.
     
  • Never mix cleaning agents.  Read and follow all manufacturer instructions and warning labels and always use these products in well ventilated areas.

     
  •  Wear safety glasses with side protection or dust goggles to protect against flying particles, and chemical goggles to guard against exposure to fertilizers and pesticides.
     
  • If you wear prescription glasses, many safety glasses or goggles will fit over your regular glasses.  Regular eyeglasses do not always provide enough protection, and may even cause further injury upon impact.
     
  • Inspect and remove debris from lawns before mowing.  Make sure others in the yard are wearing eye protection as bystanders can be hit by flying debris.
     
  • Welding or brazing requires special safety goggles or helmets.  Consult your equipment instruction or supplier for the proper protection.
     
  • After any project, make sure hands are washed thoroughly before touching the eyes or face. 

In case of an eye-related accident, Prevent Blindness America also offers its “First Aid for Eye Emergencies” sticker in both English and Spanish, free to the public. The sticker is designed to conveniently fit inside a home’s medicine cabinet. 

For more information on home eye safety and eye protection recommendations, or to request a free copy of the First Aid for Eye Emergencies sticker, call (800) 331-2020 or visit preventblindness.org.

Download a copy of the home eye injury prevention press release.