Renovating your home can be exciting, rewarding, frustrating, and chaotic — especially if you’re undertaking the improvements yourself. More homeowners take on DIY remodeling than ever before, thanks to big box stores that make all the tools and materials they need readily accessible and affordable. The ability to rent tools and equipment opens up renovation possibilities to people who couldn’t otherwise afford to hire someone to complete the job. While injuries can happen on the job for professionals, the risk is even greater for DIYers who lack years of training and experience. One of the most important safety precautions to take is to protect your eyes from injury by wearing prescription safety glasses. Your regular glasses will not provide adequate protection if the unthinkable happens while you’re working. The following hazards warrant proper eye protection.
The kind of dust generated from almost any home renovation project is more harmful to your eyes than regular household dust. Construction materials like concrete, wood, sand, and even metal can release airborne particles while you cut, file, or sand them. Fiberglass insulation also releases dust and leaves particles on your hands during installation. Those particles not only cause eye irritation but can also scratch the surface of your eye or cornea, threatening your eyesight. Safety goggles wrap around the temples and create a seal all around the eyes to protect them from any airborne particles. It’s important to remember to clean them each time you put them on because the dust on the outside of the lenses can get on the inside once you take them off. If construction dust gets in your eyes, don’t rub them — flush them with clean water and keep them closed to allow your natural tears to remove any remaining particles.
Household chemicals account for nearly 125,000 eye injuries a year. Whether you’re working with bleach, detergents, glues, or sealants, chemicals can splash or release fumes that can harm your eyes. It only takes an instant for this to happen and put your eyes at great risk. Prescription safety glasses and goggles surround the eyes and are often specifically rated for chemical safety. If you know you will be working with chemicals during your remodeling project, look for goggles with the right safety rating.
Perhaps the most common and frightening eye injuries happen as a result of impact. That can be from a blunt object like a board, pipe, tool, or — even worse — from sharp objects. Metal, glass, nails, staples, or other pointed objects may become airborne while:
- Cutting brick or stone
- Using a nail gun or stapler
Any of these hazards can cause serious injury if it punctures the eye. Quality safety eyewear is ANSI Z87.1 rated for impact, which means they are tested and proven to provide complete eye protection against impact by blunt or sharp objects.
Heat and Radiation
Though more common in industrial areas and construction sites, heat and radiation also pose extreme risks to your eyes. High temperatures from welding, soldering, electricity, and friction can cause severe burns to the skin and eyes. Exposure to lasers or infrared light can lead to optical radiation damage, cataracts, retinal burns, or even blindness if you are not adequately protected. If you plan to engage in any sort of household project that gives off heat or infrared light, purchase a pair of safety glasses that offer protection against the maximum intensity you may encounter.
Some Sobering Statistics
Working in your own home can sometimes give you a false sense of security since you are familiar and comfortable with your surroundings. However, a recent study has shown that almost half of all eye injuries in the United States happen at home. That’s more than a million eye injuries annually that could be easily prevented. 90% of them, in fact. Of the more than 2000 daily injuries that occur at home and work, 10-20% of those lead to temporary or permanent loss of vision. Sadly, the common denominator of almost all eye injuries is not wearing the right kind of eye protection or any protection at all. Since protective eyewear is inexpensive, easy to find, and completely unobtrusive, there isn’t a good reason to forgo wearing them while remodeling your home.
Don’t let an eye injury ruin what should be a rewarding home improvement project. Quality prescription safety glasses and goggles come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes that will make you look great while keeping your eyes completely protected against hazards of all kinds.