Monday, September 17, 2007

Eye Safety Begins at Home

(HealthDay News) -- Half of all eye injuries in the United States occur at home but are preventable, according to experts at the nonprofit group Prevent Blindness America.

From cleaning products to coat hangers, the average American home is rife with the potential for painful, blinding accidents. Americans can take simple steps, such as wearing appropriate eye protection, to protect their sight, however.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 219,000 Americans went to the emergency room for eye injuries in 2006. More than half of those injuries occurred at home.

Ninety percent of home eye injuries can be prevented by wearing safety goggles while doing lawn work, cleaning or working on the car, experts say. Safety goggles should have "ANSI Z-87" stamped on the lenses or frames. The stamp means they have been certified by the American National Standards Institute.

People should also wash their hands when they complete their chores before touching their eyes or face.

"When we perform the same chores or tasks around the house, week after week, we can get complacent about how quickly accidents can happen," Daniel D. Garrett, senior vice president of Prevent Blindness America, said in a prepared statement. "We all need to take extra care when we're at home to protect our sight and not wind up in the emergency room."

Prevent Blindness America has declared September "Home Eye Safety Awareness Month" in an effort to draw attention to everyday risks to vision.

Children are at special risk because of their "creative" use of ordinary household items such as coat hangers, glue and pencils. Prevent Blindness America offers the following tips to help kids learn eye-safe behaviors:
  • Teach children not to run around with forks, knives, pencils, combs or toothbrushes.
  • Keep detergents, cleaning supplies, nail polish remover, mouthwash and cosmetics in locked cabinets or out of reach.
  • Keep clothes hangers hanging in the closet.
  • Place nails, glue, screwdrivers and other tools out of children's reach.
  • Keep younger kids away from work areas where power tools are in use.

More information
There's more on eye safety at Prevent Blindness America.

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