Thousands of people in the United States sustain eye injuries on a daily basis according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Injuries often occur from striking or scraping, penetration or burns, either chemical or thermal, and even irritants. Wearing the most appropriate eye protection can help to prevent eye injuries, some as severe as blindness.
Different types of eye injuries that occur are:
Chemical burns resulting from cleaning products or other hazardous chemicals that splash into the eye. Thermal burns are typically superficial from something hot entering the eye such as hot water, hot cooking oil, curling irons, or a flame from welding, fire, explosion, etc.
Selecting appropriate eye safety wear is dependent upon expected exposure:
When working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust, wear safety glasses/goggles along with side protection shields.
Always wear goggles and gloves when working with hazardous chemicals.
When near hazardous radiation or welding equipment: protect eyes from ultraviolet and infrared dangers emitted from welding arcs, lasers or fiber optics. Wear specifically designed safety helmets for each individual task.
Know your specific work requirements/policies pertaining to safety equipment to prevent eye injuries.
Treatment for eye injuries:
Always seek medical treatment for eye injuries to ensure appropriate treatment is given:
Minor. Cold compresses, eye flushing (for 15 minutes), eye patches, rest
Major. Call 911!
If a chemical burn occurs, flush the area immediately with water; seek medical treatment immediately as it is a medical emergency. If a foreign object enters the eye by way of penetration, DO NOT attempt to remove it, have the patient rest in the most comfortable position and avoid any head movement to prevent further injury to the eye.