Most eye injuries are preventable. Due to the varied nature of their work, farmers can be particularly suspectable to hazardous work conditions such as grinding, welding, hammering, cutting wire, drilling and spraying chemicals. Added to their risk is the increased exposure to UV radiation from being outdoors more.
This Farm Safety week we will highlight the dangers that can occur to the eyes when working in agriculture and how the correct use of safety glasses can help reduce eye injuries on the farm.
Normally it is hoped that the eyelids will close as a reflex action before being struck by an approaching object. However, a blow to the eye (even with closed eyelids) may cause damage internally (such as a retinal detachment or haemorrhaging) without any apparent injury to the surface of the eyeball. Symptoms may include blurred or double vision, flashes or floaters. So it is very important if an object has hit your eye, to have it checked.
If the eye doesn’t close in time, “foreign bodies” can become embedded into the eye. It may be only a speck of dust, but it could be other particles such as flecks of metal or wood. If they are not removed, a foreign body may cause damage to the eye. If the foreign body is due to a high impact (such as grinding or wire flying off when fencing) it may actually penetrate the eye which is an ocular emergency and you should present immediately to hospital for evaluation.
Chemicals and fertilisers can also cause serious eye damage if there is contact with the eye. One of the worst offenders are strong alkalis such as caustic soda and lime/cement mix which can cause permanent damage due to corneal ulcers or perforation. Urgency is required to thoroughly rinse the eyes with fresh running water for at least 15 to 20 minutes and then prompt medical attention is required.
And finally, some radiation sources can cause eye damage. Ultra violet radiation can cause damage in the form of a welding flash or with prolonged exposure from the sun, UV damage can cause cataracts and pterygium.
So, it is important when working on the farm to always have the correct eye protection such as safety glasses, goggles, welding masks and face shields. We have a large range of safety glasses available as prescription with clear, tinted or transitions lenses. We use Australian certified lenses and safety frames fitted in an accredited laboratory.
Call into Angela Morris Optometrist to see the extensive range of safety glasses.