Safety at Home: Preventing Eye Injuries

August 5, 2024

Did you know that half of all eye injuries happen at home?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges every household to have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear.  (“ANSI-approved” means the protective eyewear is made to meet safety standards of the American National Standards Institute.)

Home activities that risk eye injuries

  • Cleaning — Chemicals like bleach in household cleaning products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year.
  • Home Improvement — Screws, nails, and hand tools can launch into the air and your eyes. Power tools can also send wood chips or other substances flying into the air.
  • Yard Work — Lawnmowers, trimmers, and shovels can throw dirt and debris into the air. Branches, twigs, and thorns can also be dangerous.

Unfortunately, only about three out of 10 people wear protective eyewear when working on home projects that could hurt their eyes. The good news? Wearing protective eyewear can reduce your risk of eye injury by 90 percent!

Keeping your eyes safe

Consider these areas and situations throughout your home where you need to protect your eyes.

In the house

  • Using dangerous chemicals such as oven cleaner and bleach (accidents involving common household products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year). Read the labels of chemicals and cleaners carefully, and don’t mix products.
  • Cooking foods can splatter hot grease or oil. Use grease shields on frying pans to protect yourself from splattering.
  • Opening champagne bottles during a celebration. Wrap a towel or cloth around the top of the bottle while unscrewing it to “catch” the cork. Never point a champagne bottle toward another person or yourself when opening it.
  • Drilling or hammering screws or nails into walls or hard surfaces like brick or cement. The screws or nails can fly into the air, or fragments can come off the surface.
  • Using hot objects such as curling irons around your face. Contact with your eyes can cause serious injury.
  • Loose rugs and railings or other hazards that could cause falls or slips. Secure rugs with a non-slip pad underneath. Check to make sure railings are secure and not loose. Put padding on sharp corners and edges if you have children or the elderly in your house.

In the yard

  • Mowing the lawn. Check the lawn or the outdoor area first for sticks, rocks, or other items that can fly out from under the mower.
  • Using a power trimmer or edger.
  • Clipping hedges and bushes.
  • Playing sports.
  • In the garage or workshop
  • Using power or hand tools. Keep your tools in good condition; damaged tools should be repaired or replaced.
  • Working with solvents or other chemicals. Make sure that all spray nozzles are directed away from you.
  • Doing anything that can cause fragments or dust particles to fly around in the air.
  • Tying down equipment or loads with bungee cords. Bungee cords are a serious danger to the eyes when they snap back.
  • Remember that people nearby also face serious risks from all these activities.
  • Bystanders should wear eye protection or leave the area where the chore is being done. This is particularly important for children who watch their parents do chores in and around the home.

Even small particles from drywall or leaves can create eye issues. If urgent, visit a nearby ER or urgent care clinic. Otherwise, call Spokane Eye Clinic to schedule an appointment at a location near you! 509.456.0107