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Essential Eye Protection

Nearly one million people in the United States suffer eye injuries each year. Ninety percent of these injuries could have been prevented by wearing the proper protective eyewear. Special eyewear is needed even if you wear glasses.

The following guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association can help you protect yourself and your family.

At home

Household cleaning products, power tools, fertilizers, weed killers, power yard equipment, sawdust, protruding wires, and chemicals pose potential hazards.

  • In the home, wear goggles to prevent blindness from chemical splashes when using household cleaners. Also make sure to point spray nozzles away from you.

  • In the workshop, think about the work you’ll be doing. Wear protective eyewear to shield your eyes from flying fragments, fumes, dust particles, sparks, and splashing chemicals.

  • In the garden, put on protective eyewear before you use a lawnmower, power trimmer, or edger. Be sure to check for rocks and stones because they can become dangerous projectiles as they shoot from these machines.

  • In the garage, it’s important to protect yourself from battery acid, sparks, and debris from damaged or improperly jump-started auto batteries.

At play

Any sport with a ball or projectile is potentially hazardous to the eyes. To help prevent eye injuries, athletes should use protective athletic eyewear, even if they wear prescription eyeglasses.

  • Wear sports frames with features such as padded or rubber bridges.

  • Wear glasses with sturdy frames and polycarbonate lenses when playing noncontact sports, such as golf and archery.

  • Wear one-piece plastic sports frames with prescription or nonprescription polycarbonate lenses when playing softball, racquetball, tennis, handball, squash, badminton, basketball, or volleyball.

  • Wear helmets with face guards when playing football, hockey, or other high-impact sports.

At work

Wear appropriate safety eyewear for your job. Many of the thousands injured each day didn’t think they needed eye protection or were wearing eyewear inappropriate for the job.

Accidents happen

Eye injuries such as cuts, chemical burns, or foreign bodies stuck in the eye are emergencies. With these, it’s important to seek medical help immediately. Don’t try to treat these injuries yourself. Contact an eye doctor or go to the emergency room for help.