Caregiver Tip: Avoiding Eye Injury

woman's face with eyes closed

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2,000 eye injuries occur each day in the U.S., and half of those occur in the workplace. The sad thing is that most of those injuries could have been avoided by simple safety precautions. Are you protecting your eyes while you are on the job? What about your client’s eyes?

July is Eye Injury Prevention Month, so keep an eye out (pun intended!) for some of the common causes of eye injuries.

Household Chemicals

Poisons-[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=Prevent Blindness reports that “accidents involving common household products result in 125,000 eye injuries each year.” With some chemicals, even one drop in the eye could result in severe injury. According to All About Vision, substances that are acids may cause redness and burning, but can usually be rinsed out of the eyes. The most dangerous substances are those that are alkali. If those get in your eyes, you may not immediately feel pain or burning, but they could cause severe damage or even blindness. Some common alkali substances are oven cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners.

Use household cleaners and chemicals with caution. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, and with certain strong chemicals, always wear gloves and eye protection, such as goggles.

Flying Objects and Particles

Anything that can fly through the air could also be at risk of hitting your eyes: a baseball, fireworks, dust, dirt, wood chips, rocks, champagne corks, etc. Make sure you and your client stay a safe distance from activities that involve flying objects. As a caregiver, you probably don’t work in an environment where you need to worry about industrial machinery, but be aware of your surroundings and take extra precautions to wear eye protection when necessary.

Falls/Unstable Objects

Falling is a common cause of eye injuries in the home. Beware of risky conditions such as unstable stair railings, loose rugs, slippery floors, or clutter or obstacles on the floor. Falls can result in severe injury to all parts of the body, including the eyes. Help your client to minimize fall risks throughout the house. And always be alert and aware—All About Vision warns that extreme fatigue, distractions, unfamiliar locations, and being in a hurry can all increase your chances of falling.

Senior-woman-in-sunglasses-[400x600]Sunlight/UV Rays

Did you know that your eyes can get sunburned? All About Eyes reports that 40% of adults don’t wear sunglasses when they are outside. It is important for everyone, young and old, to protect their eyes while outdoors. To be effective, sunglasses should block 100% of the UV rays—and they should never distort your vision or make colors appear dull.

It is vital for the elderly to wear sunglasses when outside because sun exposure can irritate the eyes and cause cataracts. And if you go for a walk with your client, the World Health Organization recommends limiting exposure to sun during the midday hours, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., because that’s when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest. But no matter what time you are outside, even if it’s cloudy, always wear sunglasses!

If you or your client suffers an eye injury, take it seriously. Don’t rub your eyes or try to remove an object on your own. It’s best to seek immediate medical attention. Call your doctor, or if the injury is more severe, go to the emergency room.

Don’t take chances when it comes to your eyes. Remember, most eye injuries are completely preventable. Your eyes and your sight are worth the extra precautions![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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  1. Felix July 19, 2014 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    Very important article to read. The eyes are sensitive so we should protect them however we can. Thanks for writing this, very useful!

  2. Jasmine July 25, 2014 at 12:21 am - Reply

    I agree with this article. When it comes to falling down you gotta move objects out of the way especially shoes that are in the way. When your dealing with seniors they are very sensitive and sometimes when you try to help you just do more damage, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is the best thing you might be able to do at times.

  3. Home Care Pulse August 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    Good point, Jasmine. Shoes are common floor clutter in many households! We often don’t think about where we’ve left our shoes, and for a senior, they may be hard to notice on the floor. Make sure you have a safe place for storing items like that, so they don’t become a fall risk.

  4. Alex Jennings June 24, 2015 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Thanks for posting this article! I think it’s incredibly important that we’re looking out for our eye’s health. I think you’ve provided some valuable information on how to do this, starting with protecting your eyes from particles. If you don’t have eye protection—like glasses or goggles—you better get some! Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Home Care Pulse June 24, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks Alex. You’re right. Though we don’t always think about eye protection, glasses or goggles can be very useful in keeping your eyes safe.

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