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See the Light: Eye Safety Is Absolutely Mandatory

By Martha Michael

Eye Safety

We often take the health of our eyes for granted. But if we could imagine what it would be like to live with impeded eyesight, we would probably be amazed at the intensity of its impact. If you’ve ever lost the use of just one of your eyes, you know that it reduces your peripheral vision and depth perception. While there are no guarantees of maintaining the health of your vision indefinitely, the possibility of losing your eyesight is a good reason to enhance your protection from damage or injuries to your eyes.

Hazards From Hobbies

More people are working from home than ever before, which makes eye safety at work a less weighty issue than domestic threats to your vision. Household products account for 125,000 eye injuries each year, according to consumer guide “All About Vision.”

Even hobbies that seem tame can cause harm to your eyes unless you consider the possible threats to your eye health. If your favorite pastimes are hazardous to your face, one of the best ways you can minimize disasters is to wear safety glasses or goggles.

Popular activities that call for specialized glasses to protect your eyes include:

  • Dirt biking
  • Motorcycling
  • Skiing/snowboarding
  • Lawn care
  • Racquetball
  • Hunting/skeet shooting

Be sure that you use protective eyewear that is designed for the activity. If you have a cycling collision, for instance, and you are wearing regular eyeglasses instead of those made with a polycarbonate material, pieces of glass from your lenses or metal from your frames could cause serious injury to your eyes.

Eye Strain

Your eyes weren’t created with the ability to spend vast quantities of time reading small text or concentrating on fine motor activities. Yet most Americans spend multiple hours every day in front of a screen. When you overwork your muscles it can trigger a spasm that results in blurring, says an article on FYIdoctors.com. A severe case of eye strain can also cause ocular migraines.

You can deter the onset of eye strain by blinking often and using lubricating eye drops, as well as taking breaks when your eyes feel tired. Be sure you have plenty of light and be aware of changes to your vision.

Minimize injuries to both your eyes and neck through better placement of your reading materials. Use a stand to prop up your cookbook or iPad and place it on the counter so it sits level and you don’t have to lean over to see it. When your head stays in a neutral position it contributes to a lower chance of eye strain.

Eye Damage From the Sun

Whether the attraction is cosmetic, or people recognize the health benefits of wearing sunglasses, the appeal is apparent. More sunglasses are sold in the United States than anywhere in the world; global sales total $4.6 billion per year, according to Statista.com. The largest market share is the sale of non-corrective, or plano, sunglasses and the majority of them cost more than $50.

The use of sunglasses will both filter light and protect your eyes from UV rays that cause damage leading to macular degeneration, cataracts, and skin cancer on the eyelids.

Prevent Blindness, a nonprofit eye safety and health organization, lists a number of safety considerations when purchasing sunglasses. They should serve to:

  • Protect your eyes
  • Not distort colors
  • Filter out 99-100 percent of UV rays
  • Reduce glare
  • Add to your comfort

You should only buy sunglasses with clearly marked UV radiation rates. They need to block at least 99 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. Also, when you wear sunglasses while skiing on the slopes or swimming at the beach, choose a pair with a darker tint because the reflection is greater from snow and water.

Don’t Forget the Kids

Children also need eye protection from the sun. In addition to equipping kids with glasses that adequately block UV rays, they also need to fit the lifestyle of the wearer. Sunglasses should have impact-resistant lenses and be in good condition. You can reduce the damage of UV rays by wearing a hat along with sunglasses -- it doubles the protection for both adults and children.

When you think about the impact of your eye health on your everyday life, it’s easy to see the importance of taking precautions to reduce the chance of injury no matter the season or activity.

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