The Top 10 Causes of Eye Injuries ... and How You Can Prevent Them
Each year, about 1 million eye injuries occur in the United
States. In a 2005 "snapshot" of U.S. eye injuries,
conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 88 percent
of the reported injuries were accidental, and most (42 percent)
occurred in the home.
In fact, common objects people deal with day-in and day-out
can be extremely dangerous to the eyes. According to the U.S.
Eye Injury Registry, 90 percent of eye injuries in the home
could be prevented if precautions were taken. Here we've compiled
some of the leading causes of eye injuries and urge you to
play it safe when it comes to your eyes.
About 90 percent of home eye injuries could be prevented
if precautions were taken.
1. Household Chemicals
Chemicals like bleach, ammonia, cleaning agents, pesticides
and others can burn your eyes' delicate tissues. When using
any chemicals in your home, wear goggles, make sure the area
is well-ventilated and be sure the nozzle is pointed away
from your face before you spray.
2. Workshop and Yard Debris
Power tools, lawn
mowers, trimmers and weed whackers all pose potential
hazards to your eyes. Be sure that all of your power tools
are in good condition and only operate them with the safety
features engaged. You should also make sure that any rocks
and debris are cleared from your lawn before mowing (so they
don't get propelled into your face while cutting), and wear
protective goggles when using any power equipment to shield
your eyes from dust, debris, sparks, fumes and more.
3. Battery Acid
It's important to wear protective goggles before attempting
to jump-start your car battery (you can keep them with your
jumper cables). The goggles should be splash-proof polycarbonate
and have a Z-87 label (which means they are certified for
use during auto repairs).
Also be careful not to smoke or use anything that could spark
near the battery, as this could cause gasses in the battery
4. Sports Accidents
There are about 40,000 sports-related eye injuries in the
United States each year. Some of the most
dangerous sports for the eyes are baseball, hockey, basketball,
lacrosse, football, soccer, racquetball, fishing (fishhooks)
and paintball. Studies have shown that about 90 percent of
sports-related eye injuries could be prevented by using protective
eyewear (just be sure you have the correct eyewear for each
5. Overexposure to Ultraviolet (UV) Light
UV light from the sun, tanning beds, and welding arcs can
damage the eyes. Sunlight is particularly risky when it's
reflected off sand, water or pavement, and can actually burn
the eye's surface in these circumstances.
To protect the eyes from UV sunlight, wear sunglasses that
block UV rays (they should block 99 or 100 percent of both
UVA and UVB rays) and wear a hat with a wide brim. Further,
protective eyewear should always be worn when using a tanning
bed or while welding.
Mom was right! Projectile toys like slingshots, pellet
or BB guns and air-powered rifles can seriously injure
There are about 8,500 fireworks-related injuries in the United
States each year, with over 2,000 of these affecting the eyes.
Injuries involving fireworks are dangerous, with one in 20
victims losing all useful vision or having to have an injured
eye removed. About 10 percent of children injured by fireworks
also suffer permanently by losing an eye, finger, hand or
other serious injury.
The best prevention when it comes to fireworks is to simply
not use them (even sparklers are hot enough to melt gold),
and take in your town's professional show instead.
7. Toys and Games
Avoid giving children toys with sharp points, protruding
edges or projectile parts, such as darts, BB guns, slingshots,
bows and arrows or air-powered rifles, as they can cause serious
eye injuries and even blindness. Only give children toys that
are age-appropriate and always supervise them while playing.
8. Furniture Corners
Sharp corners and edges on furniture, home fixtures, cabinets
and windowsills can easily injure the eyes (children are particularly
vulnerable to falling into a sharp furniture edge). Furniture
corner protectors are inexpensive (just $2.99 for a four-pack)
and can be applied to soften the edges.
9. Work-Related Injuries
Industry workers, including automotive workers, welders,
plumbers, construction workers, machine operators and carpenters,
are especially at risk of eye injuries. Over 100,000 workers
are disabled due to eye injury with vision loss each year.
Workers in industrial-related positions should always wear
protective eyewear (marked with "Z87" on the lens
Airbags in vehicles can greatly reduce your chances of being
seriously injured in an automobile accident. However they
can also cause trauma to the eye when inflated. To reduce
your risk of airbag-related eye injuries, sit far enough back
in your seat with the seatbelt and shoulder harness fastened.
If the car has side airbags, avoid resting your head on the
door. Children should always be seated in the backseat to
avoid coming in contact with an airbag.
Sitting Too Close to The TV Really Damage Your Eyes?
Are You Getting Enough of This Anti-Aging Antioxidant Powerhouse?
Academy of Ophthalmology