Winter is a busy time for working around the house. But next time you’re at the hardware store buying up supplies for your next project, consider also picking up a pair of safety glasses. There are a million and a half home-related eye injuries a year in the United States, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), 90% of which could be prevented by using protective eyewear.

Many people think to wear protective glasses when using power tools, but many injuries are sustained doing everyday household tasks. For example, according to the Vision Council, common household products used in cleaning such as bleach or ammonia cause 125,000 eye injuries a year. And outside the home, the use of lawn mowers contributed to 4,268 eye injuries in 2008. Some other eye injury risks in the home include: using hot objects such as a curling iron near the face, opening a champagne bottle, using a power hedge trimmer, cooking with oil that can splatter, and securing loads with bungee cords.

Most of these injuries can be prevented with proper safety glasses, but in case an eye injury does occur, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts that may help:

  • DO seek medical attention immediately.
  • DO flush the eye with water in the case of a chemical burn or small debris in the eye.
  • DO use a cold compress to treat a black eye, but do not apply pressure.
  • DO bandage any cuts to prevent infection.
  • DO hold a cloth over the eye to shield the wound.
  • DON’T rub the eye as this can cause further damage.
  • DON”T apply ointments as this can make a doctor’s examination of your eye more difficult.
  • DON”T flush the eye in the case of a cut or puncture wound.
  • DON”T remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.

While many may feel uncomfortable wearing protective eyewear to do tasks they’ve done without incident for years, your eyes are precious. It only takes a moment to remember to put on your safety glasses, but it’s a decision that can save your eyesight.

Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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