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Eye Safety

Eye safety at work

Eye injuries at work happen more frequently that one could think. Each day, 200 Canadian workers are affected by these kinds of injuries that often keep the person away from work for few times and in some cases to temporary or permanent vision loss.
Most of eye injuries that happen in industrial areas can be prevented by an adequate protection at work. Eye protectors include:

  • Safety glasses with or without prescription
  • Glasses with shell
  • Facial mask
  • Welder mask
  • Full protection mask

Workers should wear an eye protection each time there is a risk of hurting their eyes. Moreover, each person who visit or cross an area where there are potential dangers for eyes should also wear an adequate protection. People working under the sun or who use equipment exposing them to UV light should wear an eye protection too. Sometimes, sunglasses are enough.

If you plan to make do-it-yourself works and/or home renovation, protective glasses are recommended to protect your eyes from dust and debris. This is especially true if you have to handle tools such as a saw, a sander machine, or scouring/corrosive products. If you have to weld something, it is important to wear green tinted protective glasses with an integrated filter for both UV and infrared rays.

Eye safety in leisure

When practicing sports, eye safety should not be neglected. Children are very vulnerable as their sight continues to develop until about 8 years old, and they have to wait at the end of adolescence for the connection between sight and brain being fully completed. Consequently, their evaluation of the speed or distance to a ball or a puck is wrong. As a proof, 42 % of eye wounds in sports happen in children aged of less than 14 years old.

Eye wounds happen most frequently in basketball and baseball, but also in water and racket sports. It is possible to classify sports according to the risk they represent for eye injuries, being low, high or very high risk. The first category groups all sports for which participants do not have any physical contact or only with a stick, such as swimming or biking. High-risk sports group those where players use a device to hit such as a hockey stick or a baseball bat or a racket, and those where players can pin or hit their opponent. Martial arts, where there is no eye protection at all, in addition to rock climbing, are very high risk sports.

The most frequent eye wounds in sports are:

  • Corneal abrasion – scratches and cut
  • Wounds caused by a blunt object – such as the impact of a ball or a puck
  • Wounds caused by a penetrating object in the eye – such as wood or plastic splinter

It is important to know that ageing may have an impact on mobility and reaction time. It may be longer to move oneself away from the trajectory of a projectile. Moreover, some diseases like glaucoma and age-related retina degeneration decrease peripheral sight and represent another risk of eye injury when practicing high risk sports.

A specialized sport shop could provide you with information on the appropriate ocular protection for the sport you are practicing. The chosen glasses should protect you from wind, flying debris, sudden chock, dazzling and UV rays. However, to prevent injuries, you should assure to wear your equipment adequately and safely. Hence the importance of adjusting them correctly: the person should try the glasses along with the helmet to wear for the activity (ski, snowmobile, rock climbing, Tyrolienne,...). The glasses should be firmly fixed without pressing too much on the head, but they should not move in the middle of the activity because they are not tightened! If the glasses move or slide on the user's face, there is an increased risk of hurting the eyes because they are freely exposed but also because the wearer has to manage unstable glasses instead of concentrating on the play. Finally, an anti-fog treatment is particularly important for a good visual acuity.