Eye and Vision Care
Keeping Eyes Healthy and Safe Prevents Serious Accidents
Data Shows the Home Can be the Most Dangerous Place for Eyes
Of the 2.5 million eye injuries that occur annually, almost half of those happen at home. According to the most recent data from the American Academy of Ophthalmology
(AAO) and the American Society of Ocular Trauma
(ASOT), more than 30 percent of all home eye injuries required emergency room care. And, the AAO states that eye injury is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in the United States. Fortunately, 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented by using protective eyewear.
The most common eye injuries occur when doing lawn work, kitchen projects or when using harsh chemicals. Flying debris or nails were the cause of most eye injuries with blunt objects, such as construction hand tools or hardware a close second. The most common eye injuries are abrasions, lacerations or other eye irritations.
When starting any project, whether it is cleaning surfaces with chemicals, working on the car or doing yard work, Prevent Blindness America urges everyone to wear eyewear approved by the American National Standards Institute
(ANSI). The eyewear should have the "Z-87" logo stamped on the frames and can be purchased at hardware stores and home building centers.
Poor Vision and Falls
Poor vision can also contribute to other accidents around the home. Age-related eye diseases increase the likelihood that older adults will experience debilitating and life threatening falls. Ohio adults age 65+ who have an age-related eye disease were 50% more likely to have experienced a fall than persons of the same age without an eye disease according to the Ohio Department of Health's 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
. Of those who fall, 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries that make it hard for them to get around or live independently. Prevention of vision loss in older Americans can reduce the risk of falls and hip fractures and the associated economic and social costs. The United States Centers for Disease Control
lists "having yearly eye exams" for older Americans among its recommended falls prevention strategies.
Below are five ways you can reduce your risk of fall:
Increase your physical activity. Simple exercise, like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls. Exercise programs like Tai Chi that increase strength and improve balance are especially good.
See your eye doctor once each year. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy can increase the risk of falling. Early detection is key to minimizing the effects of these conditions.
Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking and whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Discuss things you can do to ensure you are taking your medicines safely.
Remove environmental hazards. Look around the house for anything that could increase the risk of falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors, and unsteady furniture. Remove or modify these hazards.
Think, plan and slow down. Many falls are caused by hurrying. Slow down and think through the task you are performing. Be mindful of possible falls risks and act accordingly.
You, like many others, may think that you are safest at home, making it easy to be unconcerned about eye protection while doing basic chores or tasks in familiar surroundings. However, your eyes are not out of danger just because an accident has not happened before. Make sure that you are getting vision screenings and professional eye exams to insure that the cause of a fall isn't poor vision. By paying special attention to protecting our eyes today, you may be able to prevent potentially blinding injuries in the future.
And - know what to do for an eye emergency. This can save valuable time and possibly prevent vision loss. Keep a copy of First Aid for Eye Emergencies
in your medicine cabinet. For additional resources, visit or call Prevent Blindness Ohio
This article is based on information provided by Prevent Blindness Ohio and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission, 2010.
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Last Reviewed: Dec 20, 2010