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CASTINE, Maine - Where do most eye injuries happen? Many people believe they happen most often on the job in places such as factories and construction sites. Seems to make sense since there are physical risks in those jobs, but such thinking is a myth at best.
Nearly half of all eye injuries happen in the home according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma. More than 40% were caused by activities such as “home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking.” Of those injuries in the home, more than a third occurred in living areas indoors. These facts are just some of the information supporting Eye Injury Prevention Month in July. Our concern for students and families engaged in home and recreation activities during summer break reminds us to share this very important information on eye injury prevention.
Maine Maritime Academy is no stranger to the need for vision protection as we educate students to pursue a multitude of careers in the maritime industry. Use of protective equipment, for eyes and ears, is a year-round requirement for students, faculty, and staff when performing risky activities.
For example, according to the rules for the use of the welding lab, "Safety Glasses must be worn at all times, even under a welding helmet or full face shield." Bookstore manager, Audrey Bradford, notes that the bookstore carries two types of eye protection—one for use in activities such as chemistry and the other a set of basic safety glasses.
During Eye Injury Prevention Month, the Welding Laboratory at Maine Maritime Academy is outfitting all the welding booths with autodarkening welding helmets. These state-of-the-art helmets provide clear, safe vision of the work area up to the instant that an electric welding arc is struck. In one 20,000th of a second, faster than the eye can detect, the helmet lens darkens to the appropriate protective shade for viewing the intense light of a welding arc. Students will be able to cut, grind, weld, and remove slag while never having to lift their helmets. For maximum safety, the helmets block 99.9 % of ultraviolet light whether clear or darkened.
Protective eyewear can prevent of to 90% of eye injuries, according to the eyeSmart website of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Other interesting information on the eyeSmart website includes:
· Men are more likely than women to sustain an eye injury.
· More than 40% of eye injuries are associated with sports or recreational activities.
· Sun exposure can also damage eyes in addition to chemicals, dust, and objects.
· Of the injuries reported in the survey, more than 78% of people were not wearing any eyewear.
For more information on preventing eye injuries at home and work, prevention and care for children’s eye injuries, and data on protective eyewear, check out the eyeSmart website at http://www.geteyesmart.org.
For more information about the new welding helmets being made available for all the MMA welding booths, see the Miller Electric Inc. website at: http://www.millerwelds.com/products/welding_protection/head_face/helmets/performance/