When Should You Wear Protective Eyewear?

Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang 06/05/2017

man-protective-eye-goggles-weldingThe importance of protecting your eyes from the sun's harmful rays cannot be overstated. Purchasing a quality pair of sunglasses and taking care to avoid the direct sun are vital in shielding your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

But protecting your eyes is equally important when you're engaged in activities where you could get something into your eyes. And experts also suggest that 90 percent of all eye injuries are preventable by wearing protective eyewear.

Here are some tips to help you protect your eyes this summer.

1. Wearing protective eyewear

The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) has standards that require employers to provide appropriate eye protection for their workers. The same standards should apply to you - and anyone watching you - when you engage in activities such as:

*Using a lawn mower, riding mower, string trimmers or another type of motorized gardening device.  
*Any work that requires hammering, sanding, grinding, or masonry work.
*Anytime you're working with power tools.
*Jumping the battery of a motor vehicle.
*Working with common household chemicals, such as bleach and ammonia, or chemicals of any kind.
*Working with wet or powdered cement.

While most corneal injuries heal quickly without causing too much pain or vision difficulty, engaging in activities such as woodworking and yard work present a higher risk of long-term injury. Protective eyewear helps prevent these types of injuries from occurring.

2. Sports eye safetyman-sunglasses-cycling

Summer is a great season for a variety of sports and outdoor activities, and it's important to protect your eyes from injuries while participating in:

*Paintball
*Baseball and softball
*Cycling
*Driving or being a passenger on a motorcycle.

You should always wear eye protection while playing indoor racket sports.

3. Fireworks safety

Fireworks cause thousands of eye-related injuries each year and present a real risk that makes wearing protective eyewear a must. And always keep children at a safe distance when using fireworks.

4. Swimming and pool safety

Swimming, whether at the beach or in a pool, is one of the favorite summer activities for a lot of people. It's important to protect your eyes during swimming, especially in a pool that's chlorinated. One study showed that frequent chlorine exposure could lead to corneal abrasion and other eye injuries.

Meanwhile, swimming in the ocean or other natural bodies of water can expose your eyes to other potentially harmful contaminants. The bottom line is that it's always wise to swim with goggles, and you should never swim while wearing contacts because chlorine and micro-organisms are easily absorbed by the lenses.

The best way to keep your eyes healthy and safe during any activity is to be prepared. Stay safe and download our First Aid Tips For Eye Injury infographic.

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