How Important Is Eye Safety?

Regular eye exams are the best way to protect your eyesight. There are also simple things you can do to help protect your eyes.

Eye Injuries

Eye injuries can occur during activities like yard work, cleaning or while playing sports. In most cases of injury, people report not properly protecting their eyes. Taking proper precautions such as wearing goggles or safety glasses with side shields can help prevent eye injuries.

All kids need protective eyewear while playing sports. Ordinary prescription eyeglasses do not provide adequate protection - protective eyewear should be sport-specific.

Do Goggles Really Help?

Yes! Goggles and shields do help to protect your eyes from injury. Wearing protective eyewear may help to prevent 90 percent of eye injuries. Many goggles or safety glasses come with tints to reduce sun glare, light-filtering capabilities that make it easier to see certain colors (like yellow tennis balls), and polycarbonate lenses that stand up to sudden, sharp impact. Be sure to wear appropriate eye protection based on the activity or sport you are doing. 

If You Injure Your Eye

Accidents happen. And because it’s not easy to judge the extent or severity of any eye injury, you should always get immediate, professional medical attention. It’s the best way to safeguard your vision.

The following signs and symptoms may signal serious eye injury:  

  • Pain
  • Trouble seeing
  • Cuts to the eyelid
  • One eye not moving as well as the other
  • One eye sticks out compared to the other
  • Blood in the clear part of the eye
  • Unusual pupil size or shape
  • Something embedded in the eye
  • Something under the eyelid that cannot be easily removed

In minor cases of trauma, such as a black eye from a sports injury, applying cold to the affected area can help bring swelling down, and allow the affected area to heal faster. However, even in cases where trauma seems minor, every eye injury should be given medical attention.

Chemical Eye Burns

Chemical eye burns may occur when the eye comes into contact with a solid, liquid or gas chemical. If a chemical comes into contact with the eye, immediately flush the eyes thoroughly with water. All burns should be taken seriously as they can result in permanent damage. Consult your eye doctor if you experience a chemical eye burn. To protect your eyes from chemical burns, always wear full goggles - not safety glasses with side shields - when using harsh chemicals.

Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

Sure, sunglasses look cool. But they also protect your eyes from harmful ultra violet (UV) rays to help prevent long-term damage. Choose sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection, to block both forms of ultraviolet rays. A hat will help block indirect sun, which can come into the eyes around the edges of sunglasses.

And like prolonged sun exposure — tanning beds can lead to serious eye damage. Tanning beds can produce UV levels up to 100x what you would get from the sun causing serious damage to the eye and eyelids.


NPR.0086.USA.18