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Tips to protect your vision during Prevention of Eye Injury Month – and year-round

By Judith Whitehead – Contributing Writer

Wearing protective eyewear may seem to be a simple task to perform and yet we see so many eye injuries in the ophthalmology practice where I work.

Doing our everyday chores poses a risk to eye safety. Household chemicals can be very hard on a person’s eyes. It is easy to get distracted while spraying chemicals on plants and killing weeds if you are not paying attention to the nozzle direction. Simple, clear protective goggles can prevent a lifelong problem involving chemical damage to eye and cornea.

Simple tasks such as mowing the lawn, using an edge trimmer and doing carpentry or other chores in a workshop increase the risk of eye damage. How many times does the mower hit a stone hiding in the lawn? The same risk happens using a snow blower.

Halloween is around the corner. As the kids run around with costumes, they also carry swords, broomsticks and other objects. Kids can trip and fall, and need to be able to see through the costume mask to be safe.

We should always remember to protect our eyes, including around the house, says Judith Whitehead.

After performing any tasks around the house, such as cleaning, dusting or washing, be sure to wash your hands afterward. So many people rub their eyes without remembering they have just handled a caustic substance or dirty surface that can potentially damage eyes.

Most people believe that most eye injuries happen at work and construction sites. Almost half occur in the home. More than a third occur in the kitchen, bathroom or living areas.

A great percentage of eye problems are from sports-related injuries. Tennis, racquetball, football, soccer and other sports pose a risk for the face and eyes. All it takes is an impact and trauma to the eye to affect vision going forward. Retinal detachments, corneal abrasions and eye infections all are potential risks during sports activities. Take that extra minute and play it safe; put on the rec specs, goggles and protective eyewear.

I have seen firsthand what trauma can do to the eye caused from objects or chemicals; it's not pretty.

Enjoy the upcoming holidays and playing sports while wearing well-fit eye protection. You will not regret it.

Judith Whitehead, of East Amherst, is a certified ophthalmic technician.

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