How valuable is a lifetime of eyesight? Is it worth $10 and one minute of your time?
Three quarters of Americans don’t think so. Every year in the US, 2.5 million people suffer an eye injury because 77% of them don’t spend one minute to put on a $10 pair of safety glasses. You may imagine most of these people are welding or drilling concrete, but many are injured at home:
- 35% of annual eye injuries happen to families who are cleaning, cooking, doing yard work, or repairing their home with simple tools.
- 15% happen to adults and children who play sports without eye protection.
- 50% happen on the job.
The good news is that 9 in 10 eye injuries are preventable. October is Eye Injury Prevention Month, so we’d like to highlight some risky activities that injure hundreds of thousands of people every year. You and your family should wear eye protection when you:
- Use chemicals like oven cleaner or bleach.
- Use a hammer, screwdriver, or power tools.
- Cook with oil that could spatter.
- Mow the lawn.
- Use a power trimmer or edger.
- Go fishing (the #1 source of sports-related eye injuries).
- Play baseball, basketball or racquet sports.
Some high-risk activities require special glasses that cost more, but $10 spent at a hardware store should cover the majority of risks in the home. The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers a free guide explaining what to look for when buying eye protection.
Some people avoid eye protection because of inconvenience or a fear of looking ridiculous. You can take a few moments to help these naysayers see it differently: It’s much more inconvenient and ridiculous to suffer preventable blindness.