Look Out for Your Eyes

Publication Date: 
Sun, 11/01/2015
By: Alere Staff

 

Eye injuries are surprisingly common. When you think of an eye injury occurring, you may picture a construction site, a factory or a farm, but not your own home. According to the fifth annual Eye Injury Snapshot, a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma, nearly half of all eye injuries actually occur in the home. More than 40 percent of those reported were caused by activities like yard work, cleaning and cooking and more than a third occurred in living areas such as the kitchen or living room.1

 

This may be surprising, but our eyes are at risk for injury just doing daily activities. It is important to recognize potential hazards and be cautious to protect your eyesight.

Protect Your Eyes

Perhaps the first step towards making sure you prevent an eye injury is remembering to wear protective eye wear. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that only 35 percent of the people who responded to their survey wear protective eyewear when performing activities such as yard work or home repair. Even less wear eye gear when they play sports.1 Remembering to put on your protective goggles for cleaning or mowing the lawn can keep debris or chemicals out of your eyes and protect you in the case of an accident.

Here are some common household situations where you should look out for your eyes:

Cleaning: When you are getting ready to do some serious house cleaning and you take out the heavy duty cleansers, make sure that you always read the label. A lot of those cleansers can cause severe eye damage if they get into your eyes.2 If the label suggests protective eye wear or tells you to go to the emergency room if any of the product splashes in your eyes, follow the advice.

Cooking: If you’ve ever cooked with oils and a frying pan, you’ve probably experienced minor to moderate skin burns from oil splashing out of the pan and onto you. A slightly bigger splash may reach the eye.

Home Decoration: While many home décor and improvement projects have you looking out for your eyes, remember that this can include even the simple task of hanging pictures.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

A loose rug can cause a fall. Young children and animals in your household can send toys flying. Wire hangers poking out of hallway closets can catch you by surprise. A champagne cork at a New Year’s party can turn into a missile. Many things in your daily life can be a hazard to your eyesight, but the answer to eye safety isn’t to wear protective goggles twenty-four hours a day, it involves being smart about your environment. Use your eyes to protect them and keep a lookout for situations where you may need to be cautious.

Viewing the Big Picture

More recent concerns for eyes are screens from technology. While there is no research suggesting that prolonged computer or screen viewing causes permanent damage to the eyes, it can cause discomfort and extra strain on them.3 It can be hard to tear yourselves away from your screen, but you know it’s time to take a break when your eyes get red, dry and irritated or if you develop headaches. Not to mention the back aches and muscle soreness from sitting too long. 

Here are a few things you can do to minimize the discomfort when looking at a screen3:

  1. Keep your computer screen 20 to 26 inches from you. This makes it easier for your eyes to focus.
  2. Adjust the brightness of your screen to a comfortable level.
  3. Put any written notes you use next to the screen. This makes it easier for your eyes to readjust and refocus when you go from paper to screen and back again.
  4. Take frequent breaks. Not only for your eyes, but for your back and muscles too. 
  5. Use a screen shield. This will help get rid of glare and background reflections so your eyes are able to focus on the screen and not any of the background pollution.

Following any of these tips can help you keep your eyes safe and prevent you from experiencing an eye injury. However, if an eye injury does occur, the best thing to do is see a doctor or ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Serious eye injuries are not always obvious at first, so delaying care may result in more damage to the injured area or loss of sight.1

Interested in learning more ways to stay safe? Check out these related articles:

References:

  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Recognizing and Treating Eye Injuries. EyeSmart. 2015. Retrieved from website: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/eye-injuries/index.cfm.
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Eye Injury: Tips to Protect Vision. MayoClinic.org. July 20, 2013. Retrieved from website: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/eye-injury/art-20047121
  3. Penn Medicine. Computer Vision Syndrome. Penn Medicine: Ophthalmology. 2015. Retrieved from website: http://www.pennmedicine.org/ophthalmology/patient-care/eye-diseases/computer-vision-syndrome.html.