Eye Injury and Protection
About 95 per cent of all eye injuries treated in Australian hospitals are a result of carelessness and lack of attention to basic eye safety precautions. And most of these avoidable injuries (60%) occur at a workplace.
The vast majority of eye injuries can be avoided by taking a common sense approach to hazardous activities. You should wear eye protection during all potential hazardous tasks around the home and in the work place, even if you are just lending a hand.
There’s a lot more to eye protection than just putting on a pair of safety glasses. There are numerous products available in the market that claim eye safety, but the trick is using the most appropriate safety eyewear for the particular task. By having a good understanding of the different kinds of eye protection, you can make an informed choice and find the solution that is best for you.
Common Causes of Eye Injury:
- Impact –such as plastic pieces or metal flakes can hit your eye and result in puncture, scratch or bruise
- Dust – sanding or woodwork can cause dust and grit to fly into your eye, resulting in irritation and scratches
- Chemical – harmful chemical vapours, mists and fumes, or liquid chemicals splashing into your eyes, can burn the surface of your eye
- Heat – exposure to high temperatures, molten metal, or hot sparks poses a potential burn hazard
- Visible Radiation – unprotected exposure to an intense light source such as laser can result in retinal burns and permanent loss of vision
- Ultraviolet (invisible) radiation – sources of UV radiation such as welding arc can cause burns to the cornea and conjunctiva, cataracts and retinal damage.
Protecting your eyes
Different situations require different types of protective eyewear. The main types are safety glasses, safety goggles and face shields. Fogging and ill-fitting eyewear can put people off wearing the appropriate protection. You can purchase anti-fogging lenses and anti-fogging lens wipes.
Safety glasses – Safety glasses may look like regular spectacles but the lenses are more durable and provide better protection against flying debris. They may be low impact (no marking) or medium impact (marked with an I). They should also provide side protection. If you have a vision problem, you can use specially made glasses that have corrective lenses.
Safety goggles – Safety goggles fit snugly around your eyes and may offer an extra level of protection above that provided by safety glasses. They may be low or medium impact.
Eye shields – Eye shields cover your upper face and have much the same function as goggles but are less likely to fog. If you wear spectacles, you can wear them beneath the eye shield. They may be low or medium impact.
Face shields – Face shields cover your entire face. Again, you can wear corrective spectacles beneath the face shield. They may be low impact, medium impact or high impact (marked with a V).
Helmets or goggles with special filters are available, which provide an extra level of protection for welders or those who work with lasers.