For the past several months we’ve been posting information about different facets of eye care that is useful and informative to friends and followers of The Eye Center. Today, I’d like to provide some information about safety eyewear.
In the work environment, employers are responsible for the safety of employees. This obviously includes eye safety. Occupations such as construction, machining, landscaping, shop work, and even eye clinics, are just a few of the work environments where OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), plays a role in ensuring that employees have ready access to eye protection.
In-home, sport, and recreational activities, eye protection is less regulated but no less vital. Gardening, lawn care, home shops, and housekeeping all represent activities where eye care professionals and emergency care providers, are all too frequently called on to provide care. In most cases, had a simple pair of safety glasses been worn this care would’ve been unnecessary. Fourth of July is every eye doctors’ least favorite holiday to be on-call, for obvious reasons.
The designation of “safety eyewear” is regulated by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute). Basically, each designation is determined by eyewear’s resistance to breakage. Both glasses frames and lenses are tested. Safety glasses commonly used in occupational settings typically include side shields. This prevents injury from projectiles, which would not be deflected by the lens itself. Side shields are not commonly used for eye protection around home but are needed for activities such as machining, grinding, and using a weed-eater.
Between work, home activities, and sports, there are around 2.5 million eye injuries per year, and approximately 50,000 of these result in at least some permanent vision loss. That’s a sobering statistic! These are losses of sight that did not have to happen. Many (if not most) of these accidents occur in a split-second, often when people have let down their guard for “just for a minute”. If you wonder if you need safety glasses, you already know the answer. To borrow a slogan from Nike… JUST DO IT!
Wishing you health and happiness.
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