DIYers blind to the dangers of home improvements
As the DIY season kicks off in earnest over the Easter bank holiday weekend, national sight charity, the Eyecare Trust is warning all would-be builders, decorators and plumbers about the dangers of ‘doing it yourself’.
Every year over 20,000 people are hospitalised with eye injuries sustained whilst attempting home improvement projects and hundreds of thousands more suffer superficial eye injuries.
“Many of these accidents, which can lead to the loss of an eye, blindness or permanently reduced vision, could easily be prevented simply by making sure you have the right skills and tools for the job” explains Iain Anderson, Chairman of the Eyecare Trust.
“Men, in particular, are guilty of letting macho pride get in the way of calling in the experts,” he continues. “If you’re in any doubt at all about whether you have the skills, tools, materials and the time to do a job, then you should always call in the professionals.”
British Standard (BSEN 166) safety eyewear is an essential part of every good DIYers toolbox. Budding handymen and women should always ensure they wear eye safety goggles when chiseling, grinding, hammering, drilling or sanding and a British standard (BS1542) facemask when attempting any welding task.
Other DIY jobs posing a significant danger to your eyes include sawing, painting or striping ceilings.
Wearing normal spectacles or contact lenses on their own will not offer sufficient protection to your eyes – your local optometrist will be happy to advise you about prescription goggles. Alternatively, you can wear safety eyewear bought from any DIY chain or hardware store over your glasses. Protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses and side shields is best because it’s most durable.
Accidents often occur when goggles are lifted to ‘get a closer look’ so always make sure you keep your safety eyewear on throughout the job and take a break if you have to alter them.
What should you do if you injure your eyes?
Before you start . . .
Make sure that your first aid box is easily accessible and well equipped – eye wash or saline solution, an eye bath, gauze pads, bandages and an eye patch are all essential kit.
First aid for eyes
• If a foreign object enters your eye, DON’T RUB IT. Lift your upper eyelid outward and gently pull in down over the lower lash. This causes tears to flow and will often wash the object out of your eye. You may have to repeat this several times. If the object does not wash out, contact your optometrist immediately.
• Do not try to remove a particle that is embedded in the eye as you could potentially cause more damage. Visit your local optometrist or Accident and Emergency for treatment.
• For chemicals splashed in your eyes, flush your eyes with saline solution and seek medical attention immediately.
• Abrasions will need hospital treatment with drops, ointments and a sterile pad over the eye.
• A blow to your face resulting in a black eye can be treated with a cold compress – a cool flannel or even a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel will work wonders.
• Don’t try to treat a cut, laceration or penetrating eye injury, go directly to your optometrist or a nearby hospital.
Remember, the best way to treat eye injuries is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Log-on to the Eyecare Trust website www.eyecare-trust.org.uk for more advice about DIY eye safety and all aspects of general eye care.