According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there are an estimated 2,000 eye injuries in the workplace every day in the United States that require medical care. These injuries can result in temporary or permanent vision loss, and can also lead to missed work and a significant impact on the individual's quality of life.

Eye injuries are particularly concerning as they impact children and adults, and are the second leading cause of vision impairment, second only to cataracts.

Luckily 90% of eye injuries can be prevented by wearing appropriate protective eye wear.

Eye injuries in the workplace

Eye injuries in the workplace are a common occurrence. Even small pieces of metal or wood, when propelled at high speeds, have the potential to cause serious damage to the eye. To prevent these types of injuries, it is important to wear protective goggles or glasses. This will prevent objects from penetrating the eye. Dust in the air can also cause damage, so goggles or glasses with polycarbonate lenses are recommended. If you're unsure if your glasses have polycarbonate lenses, consider wearing protective goggles over them to provide an extra layer of protection.

How can you best protect your eyes from injury?

The best way to prevent eye injuries is to wear protective goggles or glasses. Goggles provide a physical barrier that can prevent objects from penetrating the eye, while glasses can also protect the eyes from high-speed projectiles and dust in the air. When choosing goggles or glasses, it's important to select a lens material that is sturdy and won't shatter if something were to hit it. One recommended material is polycarbonate, which is a durable and safe option for protecting your eyes. Polycarbonate lens material has a built-in UV protection layer, which can protect your eyes from harmful rays.

Can contact lenses provide adequate protection for the eyes in high-risk environments?

Contact lenses can provide some protection for the eyes, such as UV protection, but they do not provide the same level of protection as goggles or glasses. Contact lenses are primarily used to improve vision and should be worn in conjunction with protective goggles or glasses in high-risk environments. For athletes contact lenses may be a better option than glasses as they are less likely to cause an eye injury.

How can you protect yourself from chemical eye injuries in the workplace?

Chemical eye injuries can occur in the workplace, particularly in environments where chemicals are used or handled. To protect against these types of injuries, goggles or safety glasses are ideal. While some chemicals may be airborne and can cause more severe issues, goggles or safety glasses will provide a physical barrier to prevent splashes from causing damage to the eyes.

OSHA standard states, an eyewash and/or safety shower would be required where an employee's eyes or body could be exposed to injurious corrosive materials.

What are the common causes of eye injuries in the kitchen?

44% of eye injuries occur in the home, with many happening in the kitchen. For example, grease from a frying pan can spray up to your eye. To prevent grease induced eye injuries use grease shields while frying to protect from hot oil splatter. Another example of a common eye injury in the home is cutting chili peppers and getting sprayed in the eye. Additionally, if chili pepper residue is on your hands and you inadvertently rub your eyes, it can cause a mild chemical burn. To prevent this type of injury, it is important to wash your hands multiple times to remove any residue and to wash your eyes out with saline if they come into contact with chili pepper.

For any eye injury it is best to call us at (562) 925-6591. Even for mild injuries, if the eye injury is not healing, it is best to check in with our eye doctor.

When should you seek medical attention for an eye injury caused by hot peppers or hot oil?

If someone has sprayed hot peppers or hot oil in their eye and it is causing pain and discomfort, it is recommended that they seek medical attention. Even if they have flushed the eye, it is still important to have it checked by our eye doctor. This is because any time the eye is scratched or exposed to a chemical burn, there is a risk of infection. Our eye doctor can evaluate the severity of the injury and take preventative measures, such as prescribing antibiotics if needed.

What should you do if alcohol gel gets into your eyes?

Using alcohol gel on the hands to kill germs can be painful and in some cases cause complications if it gets into the eyes. Similarly to other chemicals, it can cause a mild burn on the surface of the eye. This can cause similar symptoms as chili pepper or other kitchen-related injuries. If a significant amount of alcohol gel gets into the eye, it can open the eye up to possible infection. It is important to have it looked at by our eye doctor.

What are the common causes of eye irritations from non-caustic substances?

Substances such as sunscreen or makeup can cause eye irritations. If this occurs, the first step is to wash the eye out with saline. Generally, these types of irritations are mild and will improve over time, but if the eye remains irritated after a day, it is best to schedule an eye exam at our office in Bellflower.

What should you do if a chemical or alcohol gel gets into your eye while wearing contact lenses?

If a chemical or alcohol gel gets into the eye and the person has contact lenses in, it is important to remove the contact lenses and throw them away. This is because the substance is likely on the contact lens and can further irritate the eye. It is recommended not to put another contact lens in until the eye has been evaluated by our eye doctor. It is also a good idea to have backup glasses or another contact lens with you, in case an injury occurs and you need to remove your contact lenses.

In a situation where a chemical gets in the eye and there is no access to saline or drops, using tap water is better than nothing. However, it is not ideal because tap water may contain impurities that could further irritate the eye. Ideally, it is best to have access to saline or other eye washing solutions.

What should you do if you suspect you have a foreign body in your eye?

If someone thinks they have a foreign body, such as a piece of metal or wood chip, in their eye, it is important to have it removed as soon as possible. This is especially true if the foreign body is a high-velocity projectile object. If a piece of metal gets stuck in the eye, it can cause discomfort, pain, and rust formation, which can make it harder to remove and require more intensive treatment. If someone believes they have a piece of metal in their eye, they should seek medical attention from our eye doctor or, if necessary, an urgent care or emergency room.

Schedule your visit with our eye doctors for an emergency eye exam at our leading optometry clinic in Bellflower, serving patients from the surrounding areas including Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles. Call (562) 925-6591 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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