July is Eye Injury Prevention Month

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Dr. Janet Seabrook

What to do to protect your eyes

Since I began writing guest columns three years ago, a wide variety of medical topics, trends and conditions have been covered. This month’s subject is one that I have yet to discuss—the care of our eyes. We use them constantly, yet we rarely think about tips and proper ways to protect them. Well, it just so happens that July is Eye Injury Prevention Month and a perfect time to discuss simple steps we can take to preserve our vision and prevent injury.

Did you know that 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented by simply wearing the appropriate protective gear? The type of activities in which you are engaged will help determine what type of protective eye wear is needed. In some cases, glasses or contact lenses are not enough.

The current climate of civil unrest that our country currently finds itself in has yielded daily protests, marches and other large gatherings. Those who choose to frequent these types of events may want to consider, in addition to wearing a mask, wearing protective goggles to shield your eyes from elements that protests sometimes present (rubber bullets, tear gas, etc.). For those who wear glasses, keep in mind that any sudden collide in a large crowd can heighten the risk of glasses being crushed or cracked leading to possible injury to the eyes. Protective goggles may be in order.

Now that we are in the summer months and professional displays of fireworks are fewer due to COVID-19, there has been a sharp increase in personal use of fireworks. Both the facilitators and spectators of these activities should take great care in protecting their eyes and distancing themselves to decrease the likelihood of being injured. Every year, emergency rooms are filled with victims of eye injury, as a result of fireworks. Please be careful!

The above instances focus on specific environments where the eyes should be protected, however, the overall protection of your vision stems from healthy habits throughout life. Here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Get an annual eye exam. Our vision changes over time, so regular eye exams are a must. Sometimes glasses or a prescription change are in order. Eye exams can also help identify other underlying health conditions.
  2. Be mindful of your surroundings and protect your eyes accordingly. Whether at home cooking or playing with the kids or at work operating heavy equipment, take the necessary safety precautions.
  3. Cut down on the screen time. Now more than ever, we are on electronic devices. The more we stare at these screens, the greater damage can potentially cause to our eyes. Take periodic breaks from your phone or computer to relieve strain on the eyes.
  4. Be careful what you place in or around your eyes. Something as simple as an unclean makeup brush can result in infection or a more serious condition.
  5. Don’t ignore the signs. Symptoms such as migraines, dry eye, blurred vision are just a few indicators that more may be going on. Contact a medical professional if you notice a change in eye behavior.

And speaking of medical professionals, at Community HealthNet Health Centers, we are proud to offer vision care services at our two Gary locations. More information is available by calling 219-880-1190 or by visiting [www.CHN-Indiana.org].

During Eye Injury Prevention Month, please share this information with family and friends. Help them SEE that their vision health matters!

For more healthy tips, follow Dr. Janet Seabrook on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Please be sure to visit www.drjanetseabrook.com and sign up to receive regular updates and health information.

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