7 Things That Compromise Eye Safety at Home

Half of all eye injuries happen in the comfort of American homes. Our living spaces should be a place of safety and relaxation, where we can spend time with loved ones. Still, eye injuries can happen at any time and place, including in and around the house.


What Are the Causes of Eye Injuries at Home?

Every household should have a pair of ANSI-approved safety glasses, recommends the AAO and American Society of Ocular Trauma. Even if no one at your residence performs any machining or masonry work, these specs will still come in handy. For example, when changing a light bulb, wearing safety glasses prevents injury in case debris falls from the ceiling, or if the light fixture accidentally breaks. Your pair should be in excellent condition, comfortable to wear, and easily accessible.

Now, let’s move on to our discussion on the common causes of eye injuries at home and how to reduce your risk:


1. Exposure to heat when cooking

If you love preparing homemade meals, take note of the following safety precautions to avoid eye emergencies:

  • Be careful around hot oil: A common cooking-related eye injury is hot oil splashing into the eyes. Always cover the pan when deep frying foods or use a grease shield to prevent injuries. You can also wear those safety glasses we talked about!
  • Never touch your eyes when working with spice: Chili peppers, garlic, pepper, and other spicy ingredients can cause ocular burns if they make contact with your eyes. Use gloves when handling spicy ingredients, and remember to wash your hands afterward.

If these cooking accidents occur, flush your eyes with plenty of water and do not rub them. See an eye doctor as soon as possible in case of excessive pain, obvious injury, or you are worried about your eyes. 


2. Reckless application or use of beauty products

Eye injuries from applying mascara, dyeing hair, and shaving occur more often than most people know. Here’s how to protect your eyes from these potential dangers:

  • Shave responsibly: Be careful when using razors, particularly if you shave your eyebrows or near your eye area. It’s easy to cut or puncture the eye, so ensure you have a firm grip on the razor and use a well-lit mirror while shaving.
  • Never apply eye makeup on the go: Although applying makeup while commuting to work is a social media trend, do not imitate those influencers. Whether you’re a passenger in a private car or a public bus, applying eyeshadows, liners, and mascara while in motion is risky. A sudden stop or bump can scratch – or worse, pierce – the eye.
  • Dye with caution: Permanent hair dye can cause blindness. Wipe away any colorant that drips onto your forehead, and avoid tinting your brows and lashes.


3. Contact with irritants in cosmetics and toiletries

Eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara enhance the beauty of our eyes. However, they can cause harm, especially if you have sensitive eyes.

  • Avoid glitters, sparkles, and metallics: One speck of glitter in the eye can cause irritation or an infection.
  • Keep your lash line makeup-free: Try not to put eyeliner in the upper and lower lash lines on a daily basis. The oil glands can get clogged, causing infections or dry eye syndrome.
  • Steer clear of “The Dirty Dozen”: Avoid BHA and BHT, parabens, coal tar dyes, and other harmful chemicals in makeup, skincare, hair care, and other products. Learn more about The Dirty Dozen.


4. Exposure to chemicals in cleaning agents

Severe eye injuries can occur if caustic chemicals splash into your eyes. For instance, bleach, one of the most common cleaning products, can lead to vision loss if it comes into contact with your eyes. Other substances, such as pesticides and pool chemicals, can also be harmful if they enter your eyes.

Here are the steps you can take to protect your vision when cleaning:

  • Always follow the instructions provided for each product you use.
  • Never combine different chemicals, as it can cause hazardous chemical reactions.
  • Wear protective gloves and goggles when handling potent cleaning substances.
  • Before using spray-on products (pesticides, air fresheners, oven cleaners), point the nozzle away from you to prevent accidental exposure.


5. Accidental falls

Falls are a common cause of eye emergencies, especially in adults over 60. To minimize the risk of tumbling and hurting yourself, consider the following precautions:

  • Clear away clutter that could pose a tripping hazard.
  • Use non-skid pads or tacks to secure mats and rugs to the floor.
  • Use guards on furniture with sharp corners.
  • Maintain well-lit hallways.
  • Install hand railings on staircases.


6. Carrying out home repairs and improvements

Eye injuries can easily occur when working in the garage, tinkering with appliances, or replacing fixtures and fittings around the house. Keep these tips in mind the next time you break out the toolbox:

  • Wear protective eyewear, gloves, and other safety equipment before handling household fix-ups.
  • Maintain your tools. Repair or replace damaged tools, especially if they are electric.
  • If you secure equipment or loads using bungee cords, do so carefully to prevent any snapbacks that could lead to injuries.
  • Keep children out of areas where you are working on repairs or improvements.


7. Doing yard work

Lawn and garden equipment, including mowers and trimmers, can fling dirt and debris into the air, potentially entering your eyes and causing harm. Reduce the risk of eye injuries (and other accidents) through the following:

  • Examine your safety glasses for cracks before putting them on. Wear them, along with protective gloves and a mask, before working in your yard.
  • Although that horrific scene from The Final Destination movie is unlikely to happen in real life, always check the area for branches, stones, and anything that can get caught and fly out from under the mower.
  • Shower after finishing lawn work. Pollen, mold, and other outdoor particles can irritate the eyes and aggravate allergies.


What to Do if an Eye Injury Happens at Home

Taking the steps above can help protect your eyes and vision at home. However, if you sustain an eye injury, have it checked by an eye doctor as soon as possible, even if it seems minor. If the injury seems severe, consult an ophthalmologist immediately to minimize damage and the risk of vision loss.

For further guidance on how to prevent eye injuries, please refer to our previous articles on Eye Injury Prevention and Eye Care Tips. If you have questions about a recent or past injury, or if you are long overdue for a dilated eye exam, schedule an appointment with Arizona Retinal Specialists – home to some of the best retinal specialists in Sun City and Phoenix, AZ. Dial 623-474-3937 (EYES) to get in touch with our team.


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