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Summer Eye Protection

Because more people are out and about summer is also the season of eye injuries. Summer is the season of sun outdoor fun fireworks and for those so inclined yard work and home improvement projects. Because more people are out and about summer is also the season of eye injuries. The United States Eye Injury Registry estimates that about 2.4 million eye injuries occur in the U.S. each year and most of them take place during summer. Nearly 1 million Americans have permanent vision impairment due to injury and more than 75 per cent of these people become blind in one eye. That s why July has been declared Eye Injury Prevention Month. So as you begin to enjoy your summer activities doctors urge you to take precautions to make sure your eyes are safe.

Wear eye protection when playing your favourite sports. Baseball and softball account for a surprising amount of eye damage with one in every 20 serious eye injuries related to either of the two sports. A newer sport – paintball – has been blamed for an increasing number of eye injuries. Emergency room visits related to paintball eye injuries have risen dramatically from 545 in 1998 to more than 1 200 in 2000 according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. More than 40 of those injured were children. Paintball injuries can be severe because of the small size and high velocity of the projectiles which can travel up to 300 feet a second. When someone gets hit in the eye it causes severe damage; often the eye is lost. And because the paintballs are small they can slip past the orbit (the bony ridge surrounding the eye socket that protects the eye from injury) and do direct damage. Eye protection is a must when handling a paintball gun even if you re not out on a course. Many paintball injuries occur in the home with people playing with the guns.

Fireworks are another summer attraction that can cause major eye damage. Fireworks-related eye injuries resulted in 1 200 emergency room visits in 2002. Experts recommend going to a public fireworks display rather than setting off fireworks yourself.

Goggles or safety glasses should also be worn whenever you are doing yard work with power equipment. Summer is also the time when home improvement buffs get involved in large projects and renovations. Doctors urge the use of safety glasses tight-fitting goggles or a facemask to ensure that your project doesn t end in disaster. And you should make sure that anyone who s nearby is similarly equipped when you operate a power tool. To further lessen your chances for injury always check for stones twigs or other debris before using lawn equipment. Goggles also should be used when working with household chemicals such as cleaning solutions pool chemicals or garden sprays many of which can burn the eyes delicate tissues. Similar precautions should be used when jump-starting a car – battery acid sparks or debris flying from a damaged battery can cause severe damage.

And of course wear sunglasses that will block ultraviolet light.

Originally published by the Delaware News Journal (www.delawareonline.com)