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Don’t roll your eyes at the risk of eye injury!


When we think of eye injuries, our minds might immediately take us back to science class, where the eye-washing stations loomed eerily in the corner like space-age shower stalls, or to an epic DIY-fort project gone wrong (we all know the struggle of overzealous fort manufacturing)—we might be a little primed to believe that eye injuries typically only happen to rowdy kids, or to people with jobs that involve hazardous materials or machinery. Turns out, that’s not the case.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than half of all eye injuries occur at home. “It’s when people become weekend warriors and do things they don’t normally do,” says Marta Recasens, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Glendale Adventist Medical Center in Glendale, California. That can be anything from hammering wood, to working with paints and chemicals to tackle that DIY project you’ve been wanting to get around to. “And accidents can happen from simple things that you wouldn’t even think of wearing safety goggles for—like cleaning your kitchen or bathroom,” says Dr. Recasens.

Annually, 2.5 million Americans suffer eye injuries. And accidental eye injuries are the leading cause of visual impairment—that’s a lot of wayward DIY forts.

Protect those peepers from a ‘tearable’ accident!

Nearly 78 percent of people with eye injuries weren’t wearing safety glasses at the time of their accident. It’s far too easy to start a project and not even think about the repercussions of not wearing proper safety equipment—but 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented. Even if the safety glasses aren’t the prettiest part of your wardrobe, it could save you a lot of pain and damage in the long run.

Some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from eye injuries include:

  • Store all chemicals such as paints, pesticides, and fertilizers in secure areas.
  • Make sure your tools are in safe working condition and repair or replace them if not.
  • Inspect and remove any debris from your lawn before mowing.
  • At work, be sure to have proper safety equipment handy for whatever task you’re working on.
  • Store any loose items in your car in the trunk or secured to the floor to prevent additional dangers if a crash occurs.
  • Keep sharp toys or other dangerous objects out of reach of children (or yourself, if you’re like me and tend to trip on things a lot).
  • Make sure you keep stairs well-lit and provide handrails if possible.
  • Wear sunglasses (these can match your outfits).

Eye’ve made a huge mistake. Now what?

According to Dr. Recasens, eye injuries can either have immediate symptoms or even occur over time. Something as simple as a fleck of metal getting rubbed into your eye can cause devastation (like a ruptured globe) if not noted early on.

If an accident occurs, take the actions necessary to protect the eye as much as possible (like flushing with water if you’ve splashed chemicals in your eye, or taping a paper cup over it to prevent further damage) and then seek medical attention immediately. Don’t be afraid to admit that your DIY fort lashed out at you (those two-by-fours just have a mind of their own). Your eye doctor won’t be mad—or ground you like your mom.