Eye Safety: See To It

More than one million people suffer eye injuries every year. Make sure you're not one of them.

  • In the home, make sure spray nozzles are directed away from you before you use them
  • Read instructions carefully before using cleaning fluids, detergents or harsh chemicals
  • Wear safety glasses in the workshop and outside when using power tools and lawn mowers
  • Teach children the correct way to handle and carry potentially dangerous items, such as scissors and pencils
  • Select age-appropriate toys for children, and avoid projectile toys, such as darts and pellet guns
  • In athletics, wear protective eye wear for all racquet and contact sports
  • When it's time for fireworks, remember the hazards; all fireworks are potentially blinding; never allow children to light fireworks; know that certain fireworks can shoot in unpredictable directions

Should an eye injury occur, follow these suggestions:

  • If it feels like there is something in the eye, do not rub; blink a few times, and let the tears move the particle out; also try lifting the upper lid over the lower lid; if the sensation persists, contact your eye doctor
  • If you experience a blow to the eye, apply an ice compress to help reduce pain and swelling; then seek medical help
  • Blurred vision or a black eye could signal internal eye damage; see your doctor
  • If you experience a cut of the eye or eye lid, bandage the eye lightly; then seek medical help
  • If you experience a chemical burn of the eye, immediately flood the eye with a water bath; do this continuously for at least 15 minutes; use your fingers to keep the eye open; do not bandage the eye; then seek medical help
  • For an eye injury, remember that the first aid you administer is only the first step; it is essential to be seen by your eye care specialist or a hospital Emergency Department as soon as possible

As a regular part of preventive health care, be sure to see your eye doctor for regular check-ups.

The information on this page was compiled by Allen F. Tess, MD, ophthalmologist. This material provides general information only. It should not be used in place of the advice, instructions, or treatment given by your doctor or other health care professional.