Chemical, mechanical, and optical risks

What are the risks of not using protective eye glasses?

There are three main areas of risk when it comes to eye injuries:

  1. Chemical risks - When we work with substances such as acids or are exposed to gases and vapors from various solvents and similar materials, we are exposed to chemical risks. An example of eye damage in this case could be a burn or acid burn on the eye.
  2. Mechanical risks - Mechanical risks primarily occur when we work with materials that pose a risk of chips or splinters flying into the eye. Other types of dust and particles that are barely visible also pose a form of mechanical risk. A chip or splinter can cause serious damage to the cornea and retina.
  3. Optical risks - The last risk that is easy to forget is that we expose our eyes to UV and IR radiation or some form of light glare. This can quickly lead to eye inflammation.

Chemicals both at work and in your household can cause corrosive damage to the eye (chemical risks).

Many of the products we have in our homes can cause chemical eye injuries, such as dish soap, laundry detergent, oven cleaner, vinegar, and ammonia. If we get splashed with chemicals in the eye, it can cause anything from mild irritation to severe scarring in the cornea with complete vision loss. Chemical substances can be solid, liquid, in gas form, or in the form of dust. Acids can penetrate the eye and cause serious eye damage. The most commonly occurring acids in an eye injury are sulfuric acid (found in batteries, bleach, and coolants), formic and acetic acid (found in paint, solvents, and in agriculture), and hydrochloric acid (found in the metal industry). In workplaces, there are many more types of harmful chemicals than those we have at home. It is then especially important to follow safety procedures such as wearing protective goggles and having eye wash and eye rinse solutions placed within arm's reach of the risk area.

Experienced discomfort due to debris in the eye (mechanical risks)

We have all experienced the discomfort of getting something in our eye that creates irritation and discomfort. What do you do if a metal splinter comes flying towards your face and eyes? Natural protective mechanisms such as blinking and looking away are not enough to protect your eyes! Safety glasses are the protection you should wear throughout the workday. The most common cause of eye injuries is being hit by flying objects, closely followed by getting splashed with chemicals. Safety glasses also protect against dust and are highly resistant to impact, providing secure protection around the eyes as hazards can come from any direction. Even if you don't use work tools such as grinding and cutting machines, striking tools or cleaning tools, it doesn't mean you don't need protection. Flying objects and splashes can still come from your work colleagues if you are in the same room. When outdoors, wood, pollen, dirt, and dust can get into your eyes and cause long-term damage to your vision.

Do you squint in bright sunlight? (optical risks)

If you are exposed to intense or prolonged radiation (or changes in light) in your work, you can damage your eyes. Ultraviolet rays cause eye inflammation, and the symptoms usually appear several hours later. Very bright light, such as sunlight, can cause glare that impairs vision for a short period and is usually temporary vision impairment. Infrared radiation, which occurs in, for example, foundry work, can burn your retina, and if you are permanently exposed to infrared radiation, you risk developing cataracts. Cataracts cause, among other things, reduced visual acuity, double vision, and glare in bright light in the dark. If you work as a welder, for example, UV radiation is the most dangerous for your eyes. Laser radiation can burn holes in the retina and cause permanent eye damage. Depending on the risk areas present in the workplace, the user should wear appropriate safety glasses.