When it comes to landscaping, nothing puts the finishing touches on a tidy garden or yard like a power lawn trimmer. Trimmers are the second most popular lawn implement, behind the lawn mower, with gardeners and homeowners. Unfortunately, these nylon lawn trimmers are now the fifth leading cause of penetrating eye injuries. Each year, trimmers alone cause more than 1,500 eye injuries. Operating at speeds up to 8500 revolutions per minute, these trimmers spin off tiny fragments of the nylon line, which can enter the eye along with dirt and grass debris. The result: corneal lacerations and fungal infections severe enough to threaten sight.
Trimmers aren’t the only danger when working in the garden or yard. Small stones from a lawn mower’s blade can also cause a devastating eye injury. In addition, tree or bush branches can cause painful scratches to the eye. Also, chemical splashes from weed killers and fertilizers can be harmful to the eyes.
Here’s how to prevent eye injuries in the home garden environment:
- Wear wrap-around polycarbonate safety goggles. You can find these at most hardware stores. Look for the label that states ANSI Z87.1 standards.
- Don’t rely on ordinary prescription glasses for eye safety. Although they are impact-resistant, they are not safety eyewear. In addition, chemical or spray dust can get around the sides easily and into the eyes.
- Wear sunglasses. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light over time can cause cataracts and macular degeneration, which are potentially blinding. Wide-brimmed caps and hats can only eliminate about 50% of UV radiation from reaching the eyes.
- Cover the sharp tips of bamboo or metal stakes (often used for tomato or climbing plants) with plastic wire nuts to prevent an accidental puncture wound.
If an eye injury occurs, apply these emergency care procedures and then seek treatment immediately at a hospital emergency room.
- For chemical splashes, flood the eye non-stop with low-pressure water for 15 minutes to dilute or remove the chemical, then see your optometrist.
- Never wash an eye that is cut or punctured. Bandage it lightly and go to your eye doctor or to the hospital.
- If an object is stuck in the eye, leave it there and seek treatment with your eye doctor or hospital.
- For foreign material in the eye, don’t rub. Try to flush the foreign matter out with water from a low-pressure garden hose. If unable to get it out, see your optometrist.
Author: Dr. Jerry Hendricks
Other vision articles by Dr. Jerry Hendricks
A Comprehensive Eye Exam Can Detect Diabetes
Healthy Eating Habits and Eye Health
Sports Vision: See Clearly As You Protect Your Eyes
Rockrimmon Vision Source
6005 Delmonico Drive, Colorado Springs CO