The summer months usher in such a wide array of outdoor activities, including lawn maintenance, gardening, and home repairs. Most of us go about these tasks without thinking much about the safety of our eyes, but we’re taking big risks each time we do so.
Ask any eye doctor about summertime eye injuries and he or she is sure to have stories to share about major eye injuries that happened in a split second while people were doing a task they’ve done countless times before.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over 40% of eye injuries are related to tasks around the home, such as home repairs and yard work. While 90% of all eye injuries are preventable by wearing the proper eye protection, 78% of those injured were not wearing protective eyewear. The most common sources of yard work eye injuries include:
- Lawn mowers, both push and ride-on styles
- Power trimmers, weed eaters, and edgers
- Fertilizers and pesticides
- Lime dust and and other lawn or garden chemicals
- Gasoline and oil
- Paints and cleaning solutions
Yard maintenance equipment like lawn mowers and power trimmers can unexpectedly kick up bits of sticks, rocks, or dirt. Most of these bits are no bigger than a pinhead, but they are thrown at dangerously high rates of speed that can immediately cause significant eye damage.
When these bits of debris hit the eye, the results can range from a surface scratch to more serious lacerations that can cause permanent vision loss. Scratches to the surface of the eye, or the cornea, can leave a scar that damages vision. Also, in some cases, plant materials that enter the eye can cause vision-threatening fungal infections.
When mowing or using power tools like a mower, weed eater, power saw, or trimmer, wear safety glasses with side protection or safety goggles. Your prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses are not sufficient. Check your yard and remove small stones, sticks, and other debris before mowing.
You should also wear goggles to protect your eyes from fertilizers, pesticides, and other yard chemicals, including lime dust, which is commonly used in East Tennessee. Paints, bleach, oil, gasoline, cleaning solutions, and bleach can also cause major eye injuries. Read and follow all product instructions on home and yard chemicals and equipment.
Common sense and appropriate safety eyewear can reduce your risk of becoming a statistic this summer. However, if you do suffer an eye injury, even if seemingly minor, consult with an eye care professional immediately.
At Baptist Eye Surgeons, we keep a certain number of emergency appointment times open in case you experience an eye injury, and our surgeons always advise that it’s smart to have your eyes checked out rather than take a wait-and-see approach.
Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmological practice in Knoxville, TN, and Morristown, TN, dedicated to providing quality eye care to patients whose needs range from routine comprehensive eye examinations to complex eye surgeries. To meet our doctors and learn more about our specialities, visit our website, or give us a call at 865-579-3920 for more information or to schedule an appointment.