Learn how to keep your eyes on safety and away from injuries.
To help workers protect their eyes when using power tools and related equipment, the American Optometric Association offers several safety tips and actions to take in the event of an injury:
- Wear wraparound safety goggles made of polycarbonate, the strongest lens material available. Look for the label that says the goggles meet the American National Standards Institute''s (ANSI) Z87.1 standard.
- Do not rely on ordinary prescription glasses for eye safety. Although they are impact-resistant, they are not safety eyewear. In addition, chemical or spray dust can get around the sides easily and into the eyes.
- If working outside, wear sunglasses that block 99 percent to 100 percent of the sun''s UV-A and UV-B ultraviolet radiation and screen out 75 percent to 90 percent of light. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light over time may cause cataracts, which are potentially blinding.
- Before welding, put on a face shield made especially for welding. Welding is one of the most dangerous activities you can do when it comes to your eyes. Each year, more than 14,000 eye accidents are reported related to welding.
- If an eye injury occurs, apply emergency care procedures and seek treatment immediately from an eye care professional or at a hospital emergency room.
Other steps to take if an eye injury occurs:
- For chemical splashes such as battery acid or paint thinner, flood the eye nonstop with clean water for 15 minutes to dilute or remove the chemical. For alkaline burns, irrigate the eye for 30 minutes.
- For blows to the eye from a blunt object, lightly apply a cold compress; do not attempt to wash, rub or apply pressure, even to stop blood flow.
- For penetrating injuries, bandage lightly.
- If an object is stuck in the eye, leave it there and seek treatment.
- For foreign material in the eye, do not rub. Lift the upper eyelid outward and pull it down over the lower lashes. This will cause tears, which can flush the foreign matter out. If not, seek treatment.
by Todd Nighswonger