Eye Matters
September 27, 2011
How to prevent eye injuries

Dear Reader,

Your eyes are always at risk for an injury whenever you engage in activities that may involve objects flying into the eye. More than 60 per cent of these accidents occur at home and many of them could be prevented.{{more}}

The most frequent injuries are usually of a minor nature…such as corneal abrasions. A corneal abrasion is a scratch on the clear part of the eye. Usually, antibiotic drops and ointment are the appropriate treatment for this. An eye patch is usually placed on the eye for comfort.

Also, foreign bodies such as sand or other particles can get stuck on the cornea. If they are superficial they can be removed with a wet Q-tip, usually by an ophthalmologist. One is advised not to rub the eye as it may make the situation worse. Deeper foreign bodies may require surgical intervention.

Regular prescription glasses or contact lenses may shatter if the eye is hit. They do not protect the eyes from injury. If you are involved in sports activities and need to wear prescription glasses, you should have special protective glasses or goggles made.

Sadly enough, many people do not feel that they may be at risk for eye injuries until it happens. Most eye injuries can easily be prevented when one follows proper safety precautions and uses common sense to minimize the risk.

One is advised to wear safety goggles when in contact with powerful chemicals. The Goggles should fit snugly on the face to prevent chemicals from getting under them and into the eyes. They should still allow for the circulation of air between the eye and the lens.

Polycarbonate lenses, used in sports goggles, are recommended for all people who engage in high-impact sports such as tennis, squash or activities where the risk of eye injury is high.

Using fireworks at home can sometimes be disastrous. Instead, watch firework displays that are put on by experts. Statistics show a high incidence of injuries from amateur backyard displays.

When using penknives, pencils and scissors, small children should be supervised. Common household items such as elastic cords, paper clips, wire coat hangers, fish hooks and rubber bands can cause serious eye injury.

Projectile toys such as darts, bows and arrows should be avoided. Children should not be allowed to play with air-powered rifles, BB guns and pellet guns. They are classified as firearms and are extremely dangerous. In most countries they have been removed from the shelves in toy stores.

Eye protection should be worn when using a weed eater or mowing the lawn. Stones, small pebbles and debris can be hurled at the eye from moving blades and can result in serious eye injuries.

Always make sure that spray nozzles face away from one’s face.

Cover frying pans with grease shields to protect eyes from splattering liquids.

Shield the eyes from excess sunlight with proper sunglasses to prevent UV damage that can lead to cataract and pterygium formation.

Always read instructions on manuals before using tools, chemicals such as ammonia, etc.

Also, read the instructions before jumpstarting a car. Connect the negative ground of the dead battery last. This can avoid possible explosions.

When looking under the hood of your car never use a match or lighter.

In the event of an eye injury, visit your ophthalmologist as soon as possible and have your eyes examined. Even if the injury does not feel or look serious, you could cause severe damage to your eyes by ignoring it. If you experience blurry vision, double vision, and partial loss of vision or pain in your eye after an accident, see an ophthalmologist or go to a hospital emergency room right away.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: [email protected]

Tel: 784 456-1210