Bank Holiday D-eye-why

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(Last Updated On: June 2, 2022)

Those looking to carry out some home improvements this Jubilee weekend are being urged to do so with caution to avoid a bank holiday sightmare.

Every year 2.7 million people end up in A&E due to an accident at the home and, during bank holiday weekends, Specsavers stores across the country typically see an increase in people coming to see them with an eye injury too.

To make everyone aware of the potential dangers and minimise the risk to eyes, Specsavers is sharing tips and advice on what to do should you experience once of these accidents.

Specsavers Clinical Services Director, Giles Edmonds, says: ‘It’s important you are cautious and pay close attention when you are carrying out any activity which might lead to something going into the eye, such as chopping firewood, pruning in the garden, drilling or grinding and that suitable eye protection is worn. If you injure yourself, call your local Specsavers store where an optometrist will be able to discuss the best course of action with you.’

Below Mr Edmonds provides advice on DIY danger areas to be wary of and advice on the action you should take if you do have an eye injury:

DIY Eye Hazards

Trimming the hedge: ‘Twigs in the eye are incredibly common – sometimes people may fail to notice the tip of a branch as they lean over to prune a hedge or push piles of twigs into the bin. This can cause anything from small scratches to ripping off layers of the cornea which can be extremely painful.’

Mowing and strimming: ‘Watch out for objects hidden in your lawn that could be caught up and spat out by your lawnmower or strimmer, like rogue clothes pegs for example.’

Handling irritants: ‘It’s so important to avoid touching or rubbing your eye as there are chemicals which can burn the eye and even plants that can cause severe allergic reactions. We have treated reactions that have caused significant swelling or have caused tiny blood vessels to leak and cause extreme redness.’

Power tools and pressure washers: ‘Take extra care using power tools and pressure washers that can cause foreign objects to fly into the eye at speed. We once treated a man who had used electric shearers on a hedge concealing a wire fence – he thought it was a piece of bark that was causing his eye pain but when we examined him we realised it was actually a small piece of metal which had lodged itself right inside his eye.’

Paint, solvents and chemicals: ‘Paint can contain chemicals that are severe irritants and substances with a high alcohol content can be a real danger as they can remove the epithelium (the layer of tissue that covers the cornea). Strong alkalis such as caustic soda and wet plaster and cement are also very harmful to the eyes.’

Joinery: ‘This can be a key culprit of foreign objects in the eye. Don’t risk hammering without safety googles on as it’s so easy for a nail or flint to spark back up into the eye’.

What to do if an accident occurs?

Foreign object in eye: ‘The more you blink the more damage you can potentially cause. Imagine it like a leaf stuck on your windscreen wipers – it will keep scraping and scratching. Try to flush it out, and if needs be use your eyelashes to lift the eyelid off the surface of your eye while you do so. See your optometrist who will try to remove the foreign body or refer you to an eye clinic if necessary. You might need to lubricate the eye with a gel or ointment for up to three months to prevent a recurrence of the scratch.’

Chemicals or solvents in the eye: ‘It’s essential to flush out the eye immediately with water. Tilt your head so the water runs across your eye towards your ear as you don’t want it running in the other direction where it could potentially transfer chemicals into your other eye. Alkali substances are so dangerous that time really is of the essence – so use any water source you have to hand and flush out for a good 20-30 minutes as well as seeking urgent medical assistance.’

Cuts: ‘If you get a cut on the outside of your eye, on your eyelid for example, clean it out and treat it like you would with any other scratch – keeping it clean and dry and applying antiseptic ointment if need be – and attend A&E if you think stitches are required. If, however, the cut or scratch is on the eyeball itself and is causing pain or visual disturbance you should definitely seek help from an optician.’

Black eye: ‘Many black eyes will heal by themselves within a few weeks but if you do experience problems with your vision, have issues focusing up close, pain in reaction to light or distortion of lines, speak to your optician. In extreme circumstances a significant bump could cause a retinal detachment.

Perforated eyeball: ‘While some eye injuries may cause an eye to water, a perforated eyeball is much more serious and can release fluid from inside the eyeball, reducing the pressure in the eye. If the eyeball is perforated your vision will usually be severely reduced (only able to see movement, or possibly nothing at all). This is a medical emergency and we’d recommend going straight to hospital for treatment.’

For more information or to request an appointment at your local store, visit www.specsavers.co.uk.

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