Health Team

Ways to keep your eyes safe from injuries

Posted July 14, 2008 5:38 p.m. EDT
Updated July 14, 2008 7:09 p.m. EDT

— You might be more careful protecting your eyes at work, but what about when you spread fertilizer in your yard. Half of all eye injuries are in the home doing things like: frying bacon in the pan, operating a lawn mower and using harsh cleaning products.

Linda Williford's eye injury happened during a drive.

“We had the windows down because it was such a pretty day and I think something just flew into my eye,” she said.

Tammy Badalamenti injured her eye when she was drilling into sheet metal before opening her deli in Durham.

“And I felt an irritation in my eye and it got worse, progressively worse, to where I really couldn't see or blink my eye,” she said.

It was a small piece of metal, that Dr. Christine Lee removed from Williford's eye.

“And she found a big piece of plastic in my eye,” Williford added.

“Over 75 percent of these injuries are easily treatable and patients don't have vision loss,” Lee said.

However, Lee said 50,000 Americans a year do suffer significant vision loss.

“That is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends each home purchase a pair of safety glasses.

“Eighty to 90 percent (of injuries) can be easily prevented by wearing safety glasses,” Lee said.

Approved safety glasses have the embossed symbol 'Z87.' Both Williford and Badalamenti were wearing prescription eye glasses when they were injured.

Safety glasses wrap around the face and won't shatter.

“If we ever do more construction in my deli, I will definitely wear eye protection. I learned the hard way,” Badalamenti added.

Another common threat to the eyes is sports, like basketball, squash or handball. It is recommended that participants also wear approved safety goggles.