News Article: Eye Safety Ignored

An Optometrists Association Australia survey of 1,200 people has revealed that over 70% of people do not bother to protect their eyes when doing routine tasks, repairs or improvements at home. Australians are risking their eyesight by wearing prescription spectacles or sunglasses as a substitute for proper eye protection when carrying out ‘DIY’ activities, according to the new research. Grinding and welding related activities are the most common eye related injuries, accounting for 29% of presentations to hospitals and GPs. Despite the high number of eye injures, an alarming 44% of all people surveyed said they wore sunglasses or prescription spectacles instead of safety goggles when welding.

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Ian Bluntish, National President of Optometrists Association Australia, said Australians are underestimating the risk of eye injury when carrying out tasks such as mowing, painting, welding and pruning. “People are under the illusion that a pair of sunglasses or prescription spectacles will protect their eyes from damage when they are doing handy work around the home, and this simply isn’t true,” he said. “In fact, wearing spectacles or sunglasses as protection can be even more dangerous because the lens could shatter when used inappropriately. We urge people to prevent eye injury by wearing the right eye protection for the job,” he said. Reasons for not wearing eye protection included: laziness (17.5%), don’t think of it (17%), don’t think I need it (17.5%), poor fit or fogginess of eye protection (29%). It’s estimated that approximately 116,000 Australians present with unintentional eye injuries to hospitals and GPs for medical treatment every year costing over $155 million. This estimate does not include presentations to optometrists or injuries managed on site.