Ophthalmology Group Marks Eye Injury Prevention Month

Published: October 5, 2021

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) marks October as Eye Injury Prevention month, with the goal of promoting eye safety for children and adults. Approximately 2.4 million eye injuries occur in the United States each year.(1) Experts agree that 90% of eye injuries could be prevented with the right eye protection. To be effective, eyewear should have a wrap-style frame and fit snugly around the eyes, to keep out airborne objects and particles.(2)

“Our homes are full of everyday objects that can cause eye injury: kitchen knives, scissors, letter openers, pencils, rubber bands, and champagne corks,” states Your Sight Matters, a coalition of 300 eye care professionals. “There are countless ways to permanently damage our eyes if we do not store sharp objects correctly or if we use them irresponsibly.”(2)

The AAO cautions people about the following activities often done in the home that can lead to eye injury, and offers these recommendations to stay safe:(1)

  • 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 towards 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.

A person cannot always tell when an eye has been seriously injured, states the AAO. For example, a detached retina only is obvious when it has become very serious.(3) An ophthalmologist or other physician should examine the eye as soon as possible after injury.(3)

Immediately after an injury, the following protocol should be followed, according to a leading eye institute:(4)

  • Do not touch or rub the eye
  • Do not apply pressure or medications
  • Do not remove any object that may be stuck
  • Shield or protect the eye
  • Only flush the eye with clean water in case of a chemical exposure or burn
  • Seek emergency attention immediately

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(1) Boyd, K., DeAngeleis, K. reviewer, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Eye Safety at Home: Preventing Eye Injuries, https://www.aao.org/
(2) Your Sight Matters, Make Safety a Priority During Eye Injury Prevention Month, https://yoursightmatters.com/
(3) American Academy of Ophthalmology, Recognizing and Treating Eye Injuries, https://www.aao.org/
(4) USC Roski Eye Institute, October is Eye Injury Prevention Month, https://eye.keckmedicine.org/