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In the month of October, eye care professionals focus their messaging on eye injury prevention. Because let’s face it we are not often aware that some of our daily activities can cause injury to our most prized possession – our eyesight! 

On Thursday 10 October, World Sight Day is also observed by the World Health Organisation. 

Preventing an eye injury requires people to be aware of the dangers around them that can cause damage to their eyes. In this article we will look at a few simple eye injury prevention tips to help you in your everyday life.

Everyday objects and activities that can cause eye injuries:

Cleaning products, like bleach and ammonia

• Lawnmowers, leaf blowers, edge cutters

• Curling irons or hair straighteners (hot object in close contact with your face)

• Cooking with oil (spattering)

• Sharp objects 

• The sun – this is especially relevant in our strong South African sun.

The above are just a few out of many things that can cause injury to our eyes, and as the saying goes – prevention is better than the cure. So let’s take a look at preventing eye injury as we go about our daily life. 

Most injuries in the household are avoidable by being aware and paying attention to what you are doing. Many injuries occur when people try to multitask, while it might seem like you’re saving time, this is when majority of accidents happen in the home.

Keep sharp objects and chemical products away from countertops and away from children

When working in the garden, use protective eyeglasses - especially when using machinery. Safety glasses are available at any hardware store and are inexpensive in comparison to eye damage.

When outdoors remember to wear your sunglasses! If you do not have a pair, get one from any eyecare specialist. And remember, never look directly into the sun. 

Another common eye injury seen by eye care professionals is caused by the very thing meant to help correct your vision… contact lenses. Please only wear your contact lenses as prescribed by your optometrist. Do not sleep with your contact lenses in and ensure you clean or replace your contact lenses correctly.

Instances of eye injury in the workplace:

Small object striking or scratching the eye

• If working in construction or mining – metal slivers, wood, dust or cement can cause severe eye damage

• And again, sharp objects – pens, staples etc.

• Your computer screens.

Preventing eye injury in the workplace:

Use appropriate protective eye wear to suit your chosen profession. Goggles or safety eyeglasses if you are working with heavy machinery 

Effective eyewear the fits correctly and you can see clearly with them

Be aware of the dangers within your specific workspace, especially threats to your eyes

Wear computer glasses if you are working with a computer screen all day. And try using the 20-20-20 rule (read more here – article on Reducing Digital Eye Fatigue).

Instances of eye injury in sports and leisure activities:

Blunt eye trauma from a bat, ball or flying object

• Insects and dust while running or cycling

• Toys 

• Pellet guns, paintball or laser pointers

Preventing eye damage in sport:

It is essential that you wear appropriate protective eyewear during sport. There are a variety of options available at you optometrist or even your local sports shop. Many sports have specifically designed eyewear to suit that particular sport. 

Keep an eye on what your children are playing with, especially if they are little. Warn kids on the dangers of playing with sharp objects or high velocity projectile toys like pellet guns. 

What you can do in the event of eye injury or eye damage:

Contact your eye care specialist or optometrist immediately 

• In the case of a chemical burn to the eye or small debris in your eye, flush the eye with clean water. 

• For a black eye, use a cold compress, but do not apply pressure to the eye

• Never rub your eye injury - this can cause further damage

• DON'T apply any ointments or creams unless instructed to by a medical or eye care professional

• Treat all eye-injuries as potential emergencies - never hesitate to contact an eye care specialist immediately

• If the eye damage is more serious (such as a penetrating eye injury, get to the hospital immediately. Tell the doctor if you are wearing contact lenses - wait for their advice before attempting to remove the lenses. DON'T remove any objects penetrating the eye.

We only get one pair of eyes and your vision is irreplaceable! Most eye injuries can be prevented. So, remember to use appropriate eye protection when necessary.

For any general eye care needs or if you are due an eye exam, contact Leslie Sessel Optometrist – our professional team are on hand to help you with your eye care needs.

Or make an appointment today by completing the online appointment form below.

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