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As we have said we only have one set of eyes so we need to look after them as well as ensuring other people’s eyes are well protected. That is why there is a plethora of statutory acts designed to protect our eyes and our vision within the work place.

As we have said we only have one set of eyes so we need to look after them as well as ensuring other people’s eyes are well protected. That is why there is a plethora of statutory acts designed to protect our eyes and our vision within the work place. These include safety requirements for work where moving machinery or where dangerous hazards occur as well as legislation on the rights of VDU and monitor workers to receive regular screening and/or a full test with help towards a specialist prescription if required for their job.

There are fewer concerns displayed on sharp pointed toys (swords, arrows and play guns) then there should be and we at play put ourselves at risk especially in racquet and small ball games.

Still more hazards occur in daily life where we are often subjected to harmful UV radiation, when the correct sunglasses are essential. We coat ourselves in sun lotion to reduce these harmful rays damaging our skin but we continue to leave our eyes and the lenses within in them exposed. This increases significantly our chances of cataracts, and external eye damage such as conjunctival growth over the cornea named Pterygium.

As well as using UV400 quality lenses we can also ask for our clear lenses to be coated with a clear UV filter, so if we wear specs we will be protected at all times.

Being prominently positioned to enable us to see clearly where we are going and what is happening around us, unfortunately puts our eyes at risk from any objects, gases or other agents that can seriously affect our eyes and our vision I the future.

One such affect was often a regular at the A & E departments in the past was injury by plastic swords, bows and arrows and potato guns, for those of us able to remember the good old days with Woolies counters packed with goodies.

And the same goes for injuries at work where flak form moving machinery, grinding and welding contributes to a regular queue at A & E each day, just as chopping wood for the home far does too.

Thought you had escaped risk by going out to play? Not if it’s a racquet sport like squash or tennis, for being hit by an opponents racquet can be serious and worst still being hit in the eye by a small squash ball or shuttlecock can create serious damage.

So those of us who where specs are often better protected than those who don’t. But this is not the whole story because safety frames for work and play are designed often to be wrap around and have polycarbonate lenses to stop the lens from shattering. Often the lens will be correctly tinted not only to enhance your critical view or to remove white outs in skiing but also will have a UV coating to reduce harmful UV light below 400 nanometres, proven to increase your chances of early cataract.

To recap:

  • Common causes for eye injuries are:
  • Flying objects (bits of metal, wood and glass)
  • Tools and badly kept machinery
  • Grit, small particles and flak from welding
  • Gases, Chemical spills and pipette usage
  • Harmful radiation both from welding arcs and direct and reflected sunlight

Don’t forget it’s not just the user of the machinery that gets injured; in fact it’s more than often the casual bystander or friend who drops by for a chat. So make sure the working area is well shielded and kept free of passers by. If people need to move through a safety zone, they must also where safety eye wear.

Safety eyewear protection includes:

  • Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses, which must comply with British Safety Standards for the work involved and will usually, have polycarbonate lenses, sometimes with side shields to protect the eye from flying flak from machines used by others.
  • Goggles, where total protection is needed especially from radiation
  • Face shields often used in conjunction with hard hats
  • Welding helmets
  • Full-face respirators where gases are around, spectacle wearers will need smaller respiratory specs to keep under the masks.

What materials are used by manufactures for prescription and non prescription appliances?

Polycarbonate lenses

  • Lightweight
  • Protect against welding splatter
  • Are not likely to fog and some can be treated with anti fogging coating, especially in sport
  • They are stronger than glass and plastic
  • Are much more impact resistant than glass or plastic
  • Can be made in your corrective prescription
  • They often were not as scratch resistant as glass but new anti scratch coatings now protect them well

Glass lenses

  • They are not easily scratched but must be toughened which makes them thick and heavy
  • Can be used around chemicals and react inertly
  • Can be made in your corrective prescription
  • Are heavy and uncomfortable especially to those with a high prescription

Plastic lenses

  • Are lighter weight and can be made in aspheric form providing this lens technology
  • Protect against welding splatter
  • Are not likely to fog and can have anti fog coatings
  • Are not as scratch-resistant as glass but can be treated

Remember it is reported that more than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. About 1 in 10 injuries require one or more missed workdays to recover from. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10-20 % will cause temporary or permanent vision loss. Experts believe that the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of eye injuries in accidents