Kingaroy OPSM Optometrist Carolyn Dingle talks about the importance of eye protection on the job for Tradies Health Month.
Kingaroy OPSM Optometrist Carolyn Dingle talks about the importance of eye protection on the job for Tradies Health Month. Jessica McGrath

How to keep your eyes safe on the job

FOCUSSING on your eye health should be one of your top priorities as a trades worker.

That's what Kingaroy OPSM Optometrist Carolyn Dingle believes, as tradies are more exposed to risks from both the sun and workplace hazards during their job.

"We use our vision all the time, but particularly many of the trades require quite good vision in order to keep working and to drive,” she said.

"We also want to keep our vision for the things we do at home and retain our vision for the rest of our lives.”

Mrs Dingle said there are quite a few things to consider when it comes to caring for your eyes.

"A lot of tradies work outdoors, so sun protection is very important,” she said.

"UV protection is responsible for a lot of eye health problems that may not show up when you're young, but it can certainly affect your vision significantly as you get older.”

Mrs Dingle said your eyes can also get sunburned causing them to be red, sore and feel uncomfortable.

Impact protection is also a major focus for on-the-job safety.

Mrs Dingle said sometimes small particles can flick up into the eye and can cause some significant problems.

These small particles from sandblasting and working in dirt, rubble or grit can then become foreign bodies in the eye, and if it's metal, you could end up with a serious penetrating eye injury.

To help protect from this risk, Mrs Dingle said safety glasses are a great starting point, but it's important to replace them on a semi-regular basis.

"Prescription safety glasses are certified for 12 months only, so they need to be replaced every year. Non-prescription safety glasses should be replaced every time that they show signs of damage,” she said.

"When you see signs of significant scratching or chipping off the lenses, they always be replaced.”

If you're in a job where chemical splash can also be a factor from working with solvents, cleaning fluids or paints, Mrs Dingle said getting that in the eye can be dangerous.

Because of this, making sure you have access to eye wash either from water or a syndicate eye wash from a first aid kit is important.

"Chemical splashes, particularly with alkaline solutions, lime or ammonia can be extremely severe, so you should rinse the eye for a long time to help avoid serious eye problems,” Mrs Dingle said.

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