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Health and Safety Information Bulletin 17: Eye Injuries and Prevention

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What are eye injuries and when do they occur?

Our face structure is designed to naturally protect our eyes from injuries, however, unexpected accidents do occur. Getting sand or soap in the eye is minor, as long as the foreign object or substance is flushed out promptly with tears or water without rubbing, which may scratch the cornea.

Eye injuries can happen at home, restaurants, at work, anywhere while doing yard work, cooking, playing, cleaning, painting, repairing, or setting off fireworks.

What are the symptoms of eye injuries?

  • Eye swelling
  • Blunt trauma
  • Chemical burns: Getting unexpectedly splashed or sprayed in the eye by substances other than clean water can be very scary
  • Penetrating or foreign objects in the eye
  • Eye scratches (corneal abrasions)
  • Bleeding

How to prevent eye injuries

Follow these tips to prevent eye injuries:

  • Wear protective glasses or goggles: Eye protection is especially important during work or activities that put you at a higher risk of an eye injury. Wear appropriate eye protection when using chemicals or using power tools. Make sure your protective eyewear allows for good peripheral vision and is comfortable
  • Store chemicals safely: Place detergents, cleaners, bleach and other chemicals out of reach of children. Protect your eyes when using cleaning products. Ensure containers are suitably labelled
  • Protection: Placement of machine guards, safety screens, and shields can reduce the risk of foreign particles entering the eye during grinding, drilling, or handling liquids
  • Training: Make sure employees have the proper training on both the tools they will be using and the equipment they will use to keep themselves safe
  • Minimize injury: Make sure that when doing jobs that are hazardous, others are directed to stay out of the area to minimize risk to them
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible following an injury, particularly if you have pain in the eye, blurred vision or loss of any vision