Protect yourself from eye injuries during DIY projects

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Do-it-yourself projects are a great way to get things done while saving money and...

Do-it-yourself projects are a great way to get things done while saving money and channeling your own creativity. To keep your DIY experience safe and fun, follow these rules to prevent eye injuries.

Invest in good safety glasses

Safety glasses should fit closely but comfortably against your face, without gaps where flying dust or debris could get in; make sure the glasses either wrap around or have side shields. Look for polycarbonate lenses, which are lightweight but can also resist impact and scratches.

If you already wear prescription glasses, remember that these ordinary lenses are not real eye protection. Find a pair of safety glasses that fit over your normal ones, or talk to your optometrist about getting prescription safety glasses with side shields.

Replace chipped or scratched safety glasses promptly. Scratches and other damage can weaken the lenses and make them less impact resistant, so your eyes may not be as safe as you think.

Work carefully

Good safety glasses will not save your eyes if you work recklessly, so always plan your work carefully. When woodworking, plan your cutting, sanding or grinding to minimize dust and debris. Think about where any debris is likely to go, and keep your face back from the project and away from the danger zone.

Before you mow, edge or use a leaf blower, pick up as much potential debris as possible.

If you are using chemicals like wood finishers or insecticides, pay attention to the wind direction when you spray. Keep your face upwind and away from the sprayer. When working with these chemicals indoors, make sure your work area is well ventilated so fumes go outside, away from your lungs and eyes.

Working with caution also means keeping your work area clean so dust and chemicals stay out of your eyes. Do not wipe your eyes with dirty hands, gloves or towels. This can transfer chemicals or dust into your eyes, even after the job is finished. Instead, remove your gloves and wash your hands before putting your fingers near your face. To wipe sweat out of your eyes, get a clean towel that has not been exposed to your work area.

Be prepared just in case

Learn first aid so that you know how to handle eye injuries correctly. Keep clean water or saline nearby as an eye wash, and have a good first aid kit and a telephone within easy reach. Since eye injuries are hard to handle on your own, make sure someone else is at home and available to help in case of an accident. Call your Atlanta-area doctor immediately after experiencing any injuries.


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