Eye Injury Prevention

More than one million people suffer from eye injuries each year in the United States. Ninety percent of these injuries could have been prevented if the individual had been wearing appropriate protective eyewear (with "ANSI Z87.1" marked on the lens or frame).

In the house...when using household chemicals, read instructions and labels carefully, work in a well-ventilated area and make sure to point spray nozzles away from you. Many chemicals are extremely hazardous and can permanently destroy the surface of your eyes, resulting in blindness.

In the workshop...think about the work you will be doing and wear protective eyewear to shield your eyes from flying fragments, fumes dust particles, sparks and splashing chemicals. Many objects can fly into your eyes unexpectedly and cause injury.

In the garden...put on protective eyewear before you use a lawnmower, power trimmer or edger and be sure to check for rocks and stones because they can become dangerous projectiles as they shoot from these machines. Do not forget the risk to bystanders when using these machines.

In the workplace...wear appropriate safety eyewear for your job. Many of the 2,000 employees who ere injured each day didn't think they needed eye protection or were wearing eyewear inappropriate for the job.

Around the car...battery acid, sparks and debris from damaged or improperly jump-started auto batteries can severely damage your eyes. Keep protective goggles in the trunk of your car to use for those emergencies and everyday repairs.

Prevention is the first and most important step in protecting your eyes from injuries, so be sure to protect your eyes with appropriate protective eyewear. If you do experience an eye injury, seek medical attention promptly.

Eye Injury FAQs

1. During July's Eye Injury Prevention Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Eye M.D.s around the country encourage everyone to protect their eyes from accidental injury.

  • Accidental eye injury is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in the United States.
  • Approximately one million eye injuries occur each year in the United States.
  • Ninety percent of these injuries are preventable.
  • The leading causes of eye injuries include sports accidents, consumer fireworks, household chemicals and battery acid, as well as workshop and yard debris.

2. Learn to protect yourself from serious eye injuries by taking a few simple precautions.

  • Wear safety goggles when working in the workshop or yard, jump-starting your car or working with cleaning or other chemicals.
  • Always wear appropriate protective eyewear during sports and recreational activities. Your Eye M.D. can recommend the right eye protection for your sport.
  • Fireworks can cause devastating injuries to users and bystanders. Never use them at home - attend only professional fireworks displays.

3. If you get an eye injury, seek medical help immediately.

  • Injuries such as cuts, chemical burns or foreign bodies stuck in the eye are emergencies. Don't try to treat these yourself - contact your Eye M.D. or emergency room for help immediately.
  • Even a seemingly light blow can cause a serious eye injury. If a black eye, pain or visual problem occurs after a blow, contact your Eye M.D. or emergency department immediately.
  • In case of a chemical burn to the eye, flush the eye with clean water and seek emergency medical treatment immediately.

This information has been provided with the kind permission of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (www.aao.org)


Last Editorial Review: 7/7/2004