As our cities get more and more polluted by the day, the very air we breathe has become loaded with potentially harmful substances that cause a multitude of problems. But these problems tend to be long-term when compared to the damage these substances can cause to the eyes. Eye injury is a major issue in the polluted cities of today and awareness is necessary in order to ensure proper care is taken by all.
Eye injury can be of two types: physical and chemical. Under psychical injury, the eye may be damaged due to the intrusion of different materials either in the workplace or from the general environment. In such cases, the injury is limited to mere irritation that causes redness in the eye. More serious damage occurs when materials such as glass and metal enter the eyes. Some of the ways in which this can happen in the workplace are:
•Working in an environment that may produce particles, slivers, or dust
• Hammering, sanding, grinding, or doing masonry work.
• Working with power tools.
• Working with chemicals, including common household chemicals like ammonia.
• Bystanders watching any of the above.
Each of the activities above can lead to severe eye damage due to the nature of the materials they involve and hence, a common solution to all of them is protective eye-gear. Work glasses and welders’ helmets provide the necessary physical protection from foreign particles for metal workers and those in the many other daily work industries. UV protection is another factor that is to be considered by the population in general, working or otherwise. Sunglasses provide the simplest solution to this issue. In case of chemical injury, an antibiotic ointment can be applied in order to prevent infection.
Some of the symptoms that indicate an eye injury has taken place are:
•Obvious eye pain or trouble seeing
• Acute or torn eyelid
• One eye is not moving as well as the other eye
•One eye is projecting out more than the other eye or appears more prominent than the other eye
•An unusual pupil size or shape
• Blood located on the white part of the eye
Any eye injury must be treated with extreme caution. Some of the measures to be take are:
•Do not touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye
• Do not try to remove a foreign body that appears stuck on the surface of the eye or a foreign body that appears to have penetrated the eye without consulting a physician.
•Do not apply any ointment or medication to the eye without consulting a physician.
• Flush out any chemicals the eye has been exposed to with plenty of water
• Gently place a shield or gauze patch over the eye unit until medical attention is available
In most cases, recovery can be seen to be complete unless severe damage occurs to the eye. Even in such cases, loss of vision is very rare. Thus, awareness about eye injury must be spread in order to ensure safe working environments for all involved.