Springtime Activities That Could Cause Irreversible Eye Damage

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eyeNearly one million Americans have lost some degree of eyesight due to an eye injury. Dr. Shofner shares five popular springtime activities that could harm your vision and valuable prevention tips.

Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center in Nashville, TN welcomes warmer temperatures and sunshine; however, it’s important to be aware of hazards related to spring that could cause irreversible eye damage. Experts say more than 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented by simply taking a few precautions and wearing safety glasses. Dr. Shofner shares five popular activities and important tips to help prevent eye damage this season.

1) Yard Work. While using a lawn mower, leaf-blower, weed trimmer, chain saw, or any power tool, it’s imperative to wear protective eyewear. These protective glasses should have a snug, wrap-style frame to decrease the likelihood of small, airborne particles getting behind the lenses, which could cause an eye infection or corneal abrasion. Also, check the area for rocks and debris and remove them before mowing the lawn or trimming the hedges. These objects can become dangerous projectiles when shot out from lawn mowers and weed trimmers.

2) General Maintenance. Never clamp any cable to the negative battery post of a disabled car. This greatly increases the likelihood of a battery fire or even an explosion. The acid in batteries is terrible for your car, and even worse for eyes. Store a pair of safety glasses or goggles along with jumper cables and always follow instructions carefully when jump-starting a dead battery.

It may not be well known, but bungee cords are a common cause of severe eye injuries. If pulled too tightly, the hook can break or disconnects from the cord. Sometimes, the hook isn’t placed properly and can come loose or slips. Then, the hook, the cord, and/or the fastener can move directly at an eye at up to 200 miles an hour. Dr. Shofner recommends always wear eye protection when using bungee cords when strapping or securing objects. “Consider using rope or other cords that you can tie,” says Dr. Shofner.

3) Cleaning. Tis’ the season to begin spring cleaning projects. Many household cleaners and pesticides can burn your eyes’ delicate tissues. Always wear eye protection, gloves, read instructions carefully, work in well-ventilated areas and make sure the nozzle is pointed away from the face. Some chemicals that make contact with the eye can cause irreversible eye damage; Dr. Shofner suggests using Eco-friendly cleaning and pesticide products that are safe for humans and animals.

4) Sports. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, roughly a quarter of a million children are seen in the nation’s hospital emergency departments each year due to toy-related injuries. Nearly half of these injuries are to the head and face, and many are eye injuries. Children under age 5 sustain about 35 percent of toy-related injuries. Always wear appropriate eye protection when playing sports. Buy safe toys for kids, avoiding those with sharp edges.

5) At Leisure. Just because it’s not officially Summer, doesn’t mean the sun’s rays can not be harmful. Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage, including cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula, pterygium and photokeratitis that can cause temporary vision loss. Always wear UVA/UVB protective sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent when outdoors for any amount of time. Dr. Shofner also suggests children wear protective sunglasses as well as a large brim hat while outdoors.

Note for those who wear corrective eyeglasses: hardware stores sell inexpensive goggles that will usually fit over glasses. A more comfortable option is to purchase a pair of customized safety eyewear with polycarbonate lenses from an eye care practitioner. Contact Shofner Vision Center about suggested protective eyewear.

About Shofner Vision Center

Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center located in the heart of downtown Nashville, TN, specializes in LASIK and cataract vision correction surgery and treats ocular diseases. Dr. Stewart Shofner has performed over 10,000 cataract surgeries and over 30,000 LASIK/PRK surgeries in Nashville/Middle Tennessee area.

After taking all the necessary precautions, accidents still may happen. Dr. Shofner recommends anyone who experiences any eye injury should see a doctor immediately and have a friend or loved one drive you to a nearby medical center. For patients who experience sudden vision changes, impaired vision or general eye concern contact Shofner Vision Center for a comprehensive eye exam to determine appropriate diagnosis and treatment.