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outdoor eye safety, Bissell Eye CareAre you enjoying the change in color on the landscape? Fall is certainly upon us as we see the leaves turning color and falling from the trees. It’s the time of year where fall cleanup will soon be in full swing. With the temperature dropping and the leaves changing color, they are falling to the ground covering your yard in what seems like a never ending task of clean up.

As you step outside with your rake or leaf blower, be sure to use the proper eye and ear protection to help keep you safe. Dead leaves tend to break apart as your rake them up or use your leave blower to corral them into a pile. Having proper eye safety can help prevent pieces of these leaves from being blown into your eyes. October is eye safety awareness month. Every year, 2.5 million eye injuries occur, and almost half of those injuries take place in the home.

While using a rake can seem harmless, when working outside moving large amounts of leaves, sticks, and other debris from your yard, you run the risk of having a foreign object enter your eye. I’m sure as a child you remember raking a giant pile of leaves and then jumping into them. Your kids will find the same joy that you did when you were younger. Perhaps you ended up with pieces of leaves in your eyes as you jumped into that massive pile. If your children are having fun with piles of leaves and get something in their eyes, be sure to flush with water to clean the eye.

If you’re using a leaf blower you may feel as though there is no danger, that all of the leaves are being blown away from you. Your eyes and ears are at danger of permanent damage when using a leaf blower if proper protection is not worn. Like any engine, leaf blowers, even electric ones, emit sound. This sound can be harmful to your ears and can cause hearing loss. A good sign of needing hearing protection is if you hear ringing, or feel uncomfortableness during or after the use of power tools. Next is to be sure to have eye protection. Even sunglasses are a good source of protection when using a leaf blower. As you blow the leaves, they get thrown up into the air where the wind can grab them and pull them back toward you. This can cause dirt and dust particles that have also been picked up to be blown back toward you. If they get into your eyes you can experience discomfort and may also scratch your cornea.

When using chemicals to clean stains before winter sets in, be sure to wear eye protection. Fully read labels on all chemical products. Never mix chemicals like bleach, detergents and cleansers together. Use cleaners and chemicals in well-ventilated areas, and wear safety goggles to avoid chemical splashes.

Remember this year as you step outdoors that even a simple pair of sunglasses can help to protect your vision. If you intend on using power tools to help clear the yard of those pesky leaves, add ear protection while using power tools along with the eye protection. Happy raking!

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.