Eye protection is necessary equipment for your eyes, designed specifically to reduce the possibility of serious eye injury, and at times, fatal injury to the eyes. Many forms of eye protection are available, designed specifically for sportsmen, military personnel and others who may have to frequently handle equipment such as binoculars, laser devices, paintball guns, torches or other devices. Some of the most common dangers requiring protection for the eyes include: impact from debris or particles, radiation or light, wind force, hot water or heat, eye or surface splash, or any form of ball or hockey stick in contact with the eye. Other potential risks may also involve the handling of faulty or dangerous equipment, such as an electric razor blade, air hockey, paintball or laser devices, or faulty eyewear. It is therefore important to wear protective eye wear while handling any such equipment, and more so when playing sports.
Eye protection is also required by those working in industries that involve the handling of hazardous materials, including the handling of corrosive gases, flammable liquids, heavy chemicals, electric sparks, oil or other fluids, as well as biological hazards arising from the use or disposal of such chemicals. In addition, eye protection may be required for those who perform work in the proximity of flammable vapors, such as oil, gasoline, kerosene, paint, diesel, or other similar substances. Mists can easily penetrate the outer layer of the eye, or even go into the cornea. The vapors are also capable of irritating the eye, causing redness, itching, swelling, pain, discomfort or even a chemical burn. Such vapors are created when gas, vapor, or steam reaches its boiling point and condenses on the skin or eye.
Eye safety glasses or goggles are made up of laminated fabric, usually made from PVC, that offers excellent protection against chemicals. These safety glasses offer the advantages of not allowing vapors to penetrate, so no chemical splash goggles will provide protection against the same. But eye protection does not stop at the level of the eye. It extends to other areas of the face as well, such as the neck, the nose, the mouth, the top of the arms, or the chest. And when chemical eye shields are used, safety glasses should be used if at all possible.
There are two types of eye protection to consider when wearing them: the disposable variety and the reusable variety. Disposable eye shields are designed to be worn and then discarded after use. These are typically made of paper and often come in one size fits all, but if more than one pair is needed, or if they are to be worn for different purposes, a pair each of disposable and reusable are available.
Reusable eye protection must be worn at all times, even when handling tools that can break off or become contaminated. These types of eye protection must be washed thoroughly before each use to remove residue that can irritate eyes and cause itching and burning. Some types of these disposable eye protection goggles also have scratch-resistant lenses, so that goggles don’t wind up causing severe injury to lab workers who wear them for extended periods of time. Eye shields may also be required by law if the workplace is overcrowded or dirty; lab workers face greater risk of injury in poorly lit, crowded workplaces than do those in more spacious ones.
Eye protection may be required for certain professions, but eye protection should always be worn, even when working with chemicals. Workers who handle chemicals or need to wear contact lenses or other forms of safety glasses need to be aware of the hazards of the products they use every day. Eye protection goggles and safety glasses are an important part of making workplaces safe for all workers.