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Fall cleaning, home improvements and yard work: for many Americans, these projects define this time of year. But, did you know home projects like these can be a major threat to eye safety? As we acknowledge “Home Eye Safety Awareness Month”, we examine the major causes for eye damage and proper ways to protect your eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly half of all serious eye injuries occur at home, yet only 35 percent of Americans wear protective eyewear during projects that could pose a threat to their eyes. Hazardous activities at home include:

  • Cleaning. Chemicals like bleach in household cleaning products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year.
  • Home Improvement. Screws, nails and hand tools can become projectiles, while power tools can propel wood chips or other substances into the air.
  • Yard Work. Lawn mowers, trimmers and even shovels can throw dirt and debris into the air, and branches, twigs and thorns can also be dangerous.

For more information on activities that may be harmful to your eyes, go to:

Man wearing safety glassesEach year, nearly 50 percent of the annual 2.5 million eye injuries occur at home – more injuries than occur in school and at the work place, combined. From cleaning and cooking to mowing and repairing, eye injuries occur every day while performing routing activities. When completing these daily tasks in and around the home, we often become complacent and do not take proper safety precautions. The most common place for an eye injury to occur is in the yard or garden. One in four eye injuries happen during home repair. However, there are things you can do, both indoors and outdoors, to help protect your eyes and body from unnecessary injury. Here are a few tips for keeping your eyes healthy and safe:

  • Wear eye protection, this cannot be stressed enough. Eye protection, such as safety goggles, protects your eyes against particles and dust, flying debris and chemicals splashes. Also note that regular corrective lenses do not protect your eyes against injury; you can easily find safety goggles that are worn over your glasses.
  • When using hazardous products (e.g., bleach, detergents, cleansers) never mix chemical agents or other caustic substances, always read and follow the manufacturer warnings and guidelines, and always use in well-ventilated areas.
  • Remove debris and inspect the yard and the garden before beginning yard work, such as mowing or using a weed trimmer. This measure will not only protect you, but it will prevent potential injury to bystanders.
  • Be sure tools and cleaners are out of the reach of children.
  • To improve safety on stairs and walkways remove tripping hazards, secure rugs, install gates on stairs, and provide sufficient lighting and effective handrails. This is especially important in homes and locations where toddlers and senior citizens reside.
  • Remember to wash your hands after completing a task and before touching your eyes or face.
  • When cooking use shields, as this will prevent hot oils from splashing on your body, face, and especially into your eyes.

Understandably, we cannot prevent all injuries from occurring. If you should experience an eye injury do not rub or touch the eye, do not apply medication to the eye, and do not attempt to remove any debris from the eye. If the eye injury is caused by a chemical in the eye, thoroughly flush the eye with water. For all eye injuries seek medical attention immediately. For more information on ways to prevent eye injuries, go to: