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How To Protect Your Eyes

Mar 12, 2008
Andy was quite the swashbuckler, for a seven-year-old. Pirates beware! He could protect an entire coastal village with a loud shriek and a long stick broken off a tree.

It turned out, however, that his worst enemy was not Captain Hook, but his own youthful exuberance. In a wild sword fight with his pals, he accidentally jabbed himself in the eye with his stick, and Andy has spent his youth trying to protect his eye from permanent loss of vision.

More than 200,000 Americans each year are treated in emergency rooms for eye injuries, and nearly a million people have permanently lost some degree of their eyesight due to injury. Almost all of these mishaps could have been avoided.

In The Sun Or At Work

* Wear chemical safety goggles when handling household cleaning products that can splash or spill into your face or eyes.

* Wear safety goggles when using power tools, lawn equipment, fertilizers, and pesticides. Goggles that fit over glasses are available.

* Polycarbonate lenses are more impact resistant than other lenses.

* Anyone who enters your work area must use proper eye protection.

* Wear eye protection when jump-starting your car. Follow directions provided with the cables.

* For maximum eyewear protection, look for the ANSI Z87 logo. While all lenses must meet government standards for impact resistance, some do not provide protection for many strenuous impact hazards.

* Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of the UVA and UVB rays. The best colors for lenses are grays, green or brown. Other colors may distort color perception.

* In bright sunlight, a wide-brimmed hat blocks about 50 percent of the ultraviolet radiation that might enter the eye around sunglasses.

* Eyewear that wraps around the face also helps reduce the amount of harmful rays entering the eyes.

* For the sports-minded:
-Wear impact-resistant polycarbonate sports eyeguards for racquet sports and basketball
-Wear goggles to swim.
-Consult with an eye doctor if the participant has a visual impairment or eye condition that could be made worse if the eye were struck.

* NOTE: Young athletes and beginners are more prone to injuries than older persons. Consider protective eye equipment when your child is playing sports involving contact, balls, bats, sticks, and racquets.

You Can't Makeup For Vision Loss

* Wash your hands thoroughly before using eye cosmetics. Bacteria on your hands can cause infection.

* Keep all applicators clean and in good condition.

* Keep cosmetics away from excessive heat and cold, which can break down preservatives and allow bacteria to grow.

* Use and discard mascara and eyeliner within three or four months. Preservatives lose their effectiveness over time.

* Do not save brushes or use old applicators with new containers.

* Do not use saliva, and do not add water to your makeup unless the instructions call for it. Water promotes bacteria growth.

* Never share makeup.

* Keep makeup containers free from dust and dirt.

* Disposable cosmetic applicators are the best to use.

* Never apply eye products from department store testers to your eyes. Test the shade on your hand.

* Avoid using "preservative-free" makeup. Bacteria may thrive in these products.

* Never sleep with eye makeup on. If you wear contact lenses, contact your doctor for precautions.

* Never separate lashes with a pointed object, or apply makeup while driving.

Start Young With Vision Care

* Children's sunglasses should also block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and have shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses.

* Check lenses and frames before buying kid' glasses. Many can be a breakage or injury hazard, especially inexpensive, novelty types.

* Pad or cushion sharp corners and edges of furniture and fixtures. Remove items that cannot be protected. This also applies at grandma's house and other homes.

* Avoid toys with sharp points or edges, shafts, spikes, or rods.

* Keep toys for older children away from young children.

* Keep nails, glue, and tools away from a child's reach.

* Do not allow children to play with darts, BB guns, and games or toys with projectiles.

* Teach children not to run with pointed scissors, pencils, or other sharp objects. Keep the point end pointed toward the ground.

* Do not let children throw pointed objects, rocks, sand, or dirt; or play with firecrackers, matches, or flammable materials.

* For more tips, ask your eye doctor, or contact Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020, or visit their website.
About the Author
John Myre is the author of the award-winning book, Live Safely in a Dangerous World, and the publisher of the Safety Times Reproducible Articles..
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