You know it makes sense
How much is your sight worth? Insurance actuaries put a dollar value on it when drawing up benefit tables for accident policies, but in terms of over-all value our sight is priceless.
Here then is the bargain of the year – ten free tips that could save your sight or that of someone close to you.
Ninety-five percent of eye injuries treated in the casualty departments of Australian hospitals are caused by carelessness and lack of attention to basic safety precautions.
TIP 1 – TREAT ALL BLOWS TO THE EYE SERIOUSLY
A blow to the eye from a blunt object is often treated lightly once the original pain has passed. This can lead to loss of sight from secondary bleeding inside the eye which may take place several days after the accident occurred.
Treatment of these injuries usually means complete bed rest with both eyes covered – this minimises the chance of internal secondary bleeding.
These are many causes of these injuries where the eye is penetrated or not cut. Highest single cause is squash. A squash ball is particularly dangerous as it is a similar size to the eye socket and hits with great impact. Ball games accounted for nearly half the admissions to hospitals.
Wearing eye protection during sport and at work would prevent accidents.
TIP 2 – DON’T PULL THINGS OUT OF THE EYE
The instinctive reaction is to pull a penetrating object from the eye at once. DON’T DO IT – there is more damage done by pulling things out than the original penetration.
You have no idea what is on the other end of the piece of wire sticking in the eye or the splinter of wood or jagged lump of metal or whatever has gone in. It could have a hook or cutting edge that could do untold damage to the delicate structure of the eye as it comes out. Our surgeons insist on an accurate X-ray before attempting removal of such object surgically.
The other important reason is that the object is acting as a plug and preventing the contents of the eye from coming out.
The eye contains liquid under pressure – remove, the plug and the eye can collapse.
TIP 3 – FORGET THE ANTIDOTE
Most of us know that every chemical has an antidote – another chemical which can neutralise the effect of the chemical. Our advice if you get a chemical splash in the eye is to forget antidotes and wash the eye immediately with plenty of cold running water for at least 15 minutes – then see a doctor.
Imagine you have an eyeful of some burning, blinding chemical. Think how long it would take in this distressed state to identify the chemicals, look in the medicine chest (if you have one) find the antidote chart (if you have one) and apply it to the eye.
During all that time the damage is getting worse – particularly if it is an alkaline burn.
Get the head straight under the tap or the eye washing equipment and you do two things – dilute the chemical and wash it out.
TIP 4 – WATCH OUT FOR ALKALINES
If someone gets careless with acid it worries anyone who sees it. Alkalines are a different matter, few people realise that an alkaline burn is worse for eyes than an acid burn. This is because the alkaline actually combines with the protein of the eye to make a particular deep blinding burn. Usually an alkaline burn goes so deep that sight can never be restored.
Lime is a potent cause of blindness and yet is treated very casually in industrial situations and around homes.
Many people are blind today as a result of lime burns. Think about a few other chemicals around most homes that are treated carelessly.
This list is endless – weedicides, pesticides, bleach, caustic oven cleaners, adhesives, plastic fillers, kerosene, detergents, disinfectants, cement and various kinds of sprays.
TIP 5 – STEAM IS NOT GOOD FOR EYES
A large number of injuries resulting from careless use of steam – the resulting pressure-cooked eye is not a pretty sight. It is also permanently blind.
TIP 6 – GET A GUN LICENCE FOR YOUR LAWN MOWER
A police .38 pistol is a dangerous weapon. Agreed? A rotary lawn mower can eject a stone from its blades at a faster velocity than a bullet from the .38 ! (Pistol – between 980 and 1.280 ft. per second. Mower – 1,200 and 1,300 ft. per second).
You wouldn’t want your children or friends standing around if someone was firing a pistol indiscriminately on your front lawn, so keep them inside, away from the mower. A speeding stone, dog-bone, bit of wood, or length of wire has a disastrous effect on the eye.
TIP 7 – THESE ODDS ARE STUPID
Very few – if any – gamblers would be stupid enough to back a horse if the odds get their OWN money back, IF the horse wins. That is exactly the odds when people work without their safety eye protection.
There is no way which they can be better off if they get away with it and no accident takes place. The best they can hope for is to stay the same as they were before. Their sight will certainly not improve.
What if they are not so lucky? Blindness at worst and varying degrees of pain and impairment in between.
Don’t risk it! There are statistics to show the dramatic drop in eye injuries in factories where total eye protection has been brought in as a compulsory measure. These companies have had full backing from concerned unions and co-operation from shop stewards who realise the importance of protecting their members from injuries which could jeopardise their suitability for useful employment.
Approved safety eye-wear protects from the three main types of injury mentioned in this article – the blunt blow, penetrating wounds and chemical splashes.
TIP 8 – YES, YOU CAN DO-IT YOURSELF
These are the days of do-it-yourself and at the weekend many of us who are not tradesmen during our working hours become what we believe to be the world’s best motor mechanics, carpenters, fitters and turners etc., and we get down the yard in the shed or garage using all sorts of power and hand tools.
You can save a lot of money this way. You can also get a serious do-it-yourself eye injury, and we are seeing more and more of these every year.
The home workman doesn’t have the benefit of an enlightened management actively promoting an eye safety campaign. If he has goggles they are likely to be hung on a nail somewhere gathering dust. “Safety glasses are only for factory workers aren’t they?” He would say if asked why he wasn’t wearing them.
TIP 9 – STEEL ON STEEL IS BAD NEWS
Hammering steel on steel is the cause of far too many serious injuries to the eyes. Two hardened surfaces hitting together produce steel chips which fly with great velocity and penetrate deeply into eyes.
Motor mechanics are the worst offenders – like smashing bearings off shafts with a big hammer. Don’t risk your sight when hammering. Use a brass or copper drift, a plastic hammer or rubber mallet. Don’t invite trouble by hammering steel on steel.
TIP 10 – IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU
Every one of the people admitted to hospitals with eye injuries believed it couldn’t happen to them – until it did. Then in a split second they knew they were wrong, and it had happened.
Like the dentist who was hit in the eye with a champagne cork, the factory supervisor who scratched his eye deeply while pruning roses, the school boy who became permanently blind when lime splashed into his eyes as he was marking an athletic track, the boiler attendant who hit a stuck safety valve with a hammer and suffered terrible injury when it disintegrated.
These are just a few of the people who have been treated with eye injuries at hospitals. There are hundreds more. Some were working without eye protection. Some thought seat-belts were just as effective if you sat on them instead of wearing them. Others prised lids off tins with scissors or screwdrivers. Many were hit by stones or sticks. Still more were careless with explosives and guns.
Eye danger lurks everywhere but awareness of the problem may save your sight. It has been estimated that 90% of eye injuries are caused by carelessness and half of all blindness is preventable.