You might think that the family home is a fairly unthreatening setting. And responses to a recent public survey commissioned by the American Academy of Ophthalmology show that people generally agree.
Less than half of survey respondents mentioned the home — especially the yard or garage — as the most common site of serious eye injury.
Only 35 percent of those surveyed always wear protective eyewear when doing home repair or projects.
However, medical statistics tell a different story: Nearly half of all eye injuries each year occur in and around the home, and home-based injuries are increasing each year.
This alarming trend is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma now recommend that every household have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear for use during projects and activities that may present risk of injury. (ANSI-approved protective eyewear is manufactured to meet the American National Standards Institute eye protection standard.)
Eye Injury Risks in the House
- Using hazardous products and chemicals such as oven cleaner and bleach for cleaning and other chores (accidents involving common household products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year).
- Cooking foods can that can splatter hot grease or oil.
- Opening champagne bottles during a celebration.
- Drilling or hammering screws or nails into walls or hard surfaces like brick or cement; the screws or nails can become projectiles, or fragments can come off the surface.
- Using hot objects such as curling irons around the face; inadvertent contact with the user’s eyes can cause serious injury.
- Loose rugs and railings or other hazards that could cause falls or slips.
Injury Risks in the Yard
- Mowing the lawn.
- Using a power trimmer or edger.
- Clipping hedges and bushes.
Eye Injury Risks in the Garage or Workshop
- Using tools (power or hand).
- Working with solvents or other chemicals.
- Any task that can produce fragments, dust particles or other eye irritants.
- Securing equipment or loads with bungee cords.
For all of these activities, it’s important to remember that bystanders also face significant risk and should take precautions against eye injuries too. This is particularly important for children who watch their parents perform routine chores in and around the home. Bystanders should wear eye protection too or leave the area where the chore is being done.
Preventing Eye Injuries at Home
Wearing protective eyewear will prevent 90 percent of eye injuries, so make sure that your home has at least one approved pair and that you and your family members wear the eyewear when risks come into play.
There will still be occasions when accidents and injuries happen. Consider taking some of these safety steps around the home to diminish the risks even more:
- Read the labels of chemicals and cleaners carefully, and don’t mix products.
- Secure rugs and railings.
- Cushion sharp corners and edges of furnishings and home fixtures if you have children or the elderly in your house.
- Check the lawn or the outdoor area where you will be working for debris that can become a projectile.
- Keep your tools in good condition; damaged tools should be repaired or replaced.
- Make sure that all spray nozzles are directed away from you.
- Use grease shields on frying pans to protect from splattering.
Reviewed By: Brenda Pagan-Duran MD