09 Aug TH!NK LSR – EYES: You only have one pair of eyes, so look after them!
Your eyes are amazing things. Did you know:
- Your eyes are capable of focusing on 50+ things at any given second.
- Your eyes have the fastest lens known to mankind. They are much faster than any camera lens. While camera lenses take a few seconds to focus on objects at different distances, human eyes can adjust focus almost instantly without any noticeable lag.
- In the right conditions, your eyes are capable of seeing a single candle flame from a distance of 14 miles.
- There are 107 million cells in a single eye that are sen- sitive to light. This means that there are 214 million photosensitive cells in two eyes.
- Your eyes can see over an arc of 200 degrees.
- Your eyes can see an object 2.5 million light years distant.
In most circumstances, sight is by far the most important of the five human senses: it allows us to recognise friend from foe, to identify what is good to eat, to carry out precision tasks, to maintain an awareness of our surroundings, and to keep ourselves safe. But …
Every year over 23 million people around the world suffer an eye injury, and nearly 2 million people will lose their sight due to injury.
Most eye injuries fall into six main categories:
- Scratches and abrasions
- Foreign objects in the eye
- Foreign objects penetrating the eye
- A blow to the eye
- Chemical burns
- Flash burns
First Aid Treatment for Eye Injuries
FOREIGN BODIES IN THE EYE
Getting sand, dirt, dust or other small natural particles in your eye is not usually an emergency. Our eyes are very good at flushing out these kinds of particles with tears and blinking. Let your eyes try to take care of the particles naturally before doing anything else.
If metal, glass or other man-made materials get in your eye, this can be more serious. These kinds of objects may become embedded in the surface of the eye and cause ongoing irritation and further damage.
- DO NOT rub the eye.
- Blink several times and allow tears to flush out the particle.
- Lift the upper eyelid over the lashes of your lower lid to let the eyelashes try to brush the particle out.
- Use eyewash, saline solution or running tap water to flush the eye.
- Seek medical attention if irritation persists.
IF YOU GET HIT IN THE EYE
Gently apply a small cold compress to reduce pain and swelling.
- DO NOT use steaks or other food items. These can get bacteria into the eye.
- DO NOT apply any pressure. If a black eye, pain or visual disturbance occurs, seek medical help – even a light blow can cause serious injury.
IF YOUR EYE HAS BEEN CUT OR PUNCTURED
Gently place a protective cover over the eye. A piece of clean card or paper taped to the bones surrounding the eye can serve as a shield until you get medical attention.
- DO NOT press the shield against the eye.
- DO NOT rinse with water.
- DO NOT remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
- DO NOT rub or apply pressure to the eye.
- DO NOT take aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs thin the blood and may increase bleeding.
- Seek medical attention.
CHEMICAL BURNS AND SPLASHES IN THE EYE
Immediately flush the eye with plenty of clean water. Seek emergency medical treatment right away.
Check the Safety Data Sheet and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) medical guidance as appropriate.
FOR ALL OTHER EYE INJURIES
Injuries other than small scratches or tiny foreign bodies should be considered potentially serious.
- DO NOT touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
- DO NOT try to remove any objects stuck in the eye.
- DO NOT apply ointment or medication to the eye.
- Seek medical attention.
And finally …
It is estimated that 90% of eye injuries are preventable by using the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
EYE PROTECTION MUST BE:
Clean, inside and out – do not trap dirt next to your eyes Correctly fitted – do not allow objects to pass between the skin and the PPE
Do not join the 2 million – make sure YOU use appropriate PPE.
Peter Chilman, QSE Manager