With Australians bunkering down during home isolation due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many are using this time to complete odd jobs around the house – gardening, painting, repairs and other home improvement tasks. Optometrists are urging Australians to exercise extra caution when it comes to their eye safety, with Optometry Australia’s 2020 Vision Index revealing more than one in five Australians have acquired an eye injury when working on a DIY project and an increase in patients with foreign bodies and eye injuries presenting to optometrists in the last few weeks.
“While now is a great time to tick off those tasks you’ve been putting off around the home, we’re wanting to remind aspiring DIYers of some basic safety measures when starting projects around the home. If you or a family member are planning on grinding, cutting, hammering, painting, gardening or completing any other DIY project we encourage you to follow our simple eye safety tips – they could prevent serious, irreversible damage,” said Luke Arundel, Optometry Australia’s Chief Clinical Officer.
Aussies know how important their eye health is, with the report also revealing that 76% of Australians claim that vision is their most important sense, but alarmingly only 12% of Australians always wear protective eyewear when completing DIY projects.
Keep your eyes safe by following the tips below:
- Always wear protective eyewear and ensure they are well-fitted Australian Standard safety goggles – normal glasses may not provide enough high impact, splash or dust protection. Safety eyewear is also available in tinted colours for those working outside and can be easily made as prescription safety eyewear for those that need glasses to see well.
- Identify potential safety hazards including poor lighting, unsteady surfaces, sharp edges, high-risk tools, and ensure you put safety-measures in place. If you have children at home you need to separately identify eye hazards at their eye height.
- If you get a chemical in your eyes, flush with saline for 20 minutes to wash away the chemicals and seek medical attention.
- Lawn mowers, whipper snippers and pressure cleaners can throw small rocks at very high speed, so ensure you have guards on these tools and again, wear protective eyewear.
- Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after you have completed any work and before you touch your face or eyes.
If you have little helpers around the house wanting to get involved, please ensure they too follow the above safety tips.
If you do plan to spend more time outside DIYing, please also ensure you protect your eyes from the sun and always wear UV protection sunglasses and a hat.
by Luke Arundel, Chief Clinical Officer, Optometry Australia – 20th April 2020