It’s likely you don’t give a lot of thought to eye injuries that can occur at home. After all, most eye injuries occur in the workplace. Yet, statistics show that numerous people visit hospital emergency rooms each year for an eye injury that occurred in the home. In fact, approximately 193,000 Americans had home-related eye injuries in 2014. While we’re not sure how many older adults make up that number, seniors are certainly not immune to hurting themselves.
What Causes Eye Injuries?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, some common causes of eye injuries are:
- Hazardous household chemicals, like oven cleaners and bleach.
- Grease or oil spatters while cooking.
- Champagne bottle corks.
- Hot objects used near the face, like curling irons.
- Fall hazards, like loose rugs or railings.
- DIY projects.
- Mowing the lawn, trimming weeds, or clipping the hedges.
- Using bungee cords to secure objects.
How to Protect the Eyes of Older Adults
There are several steps you can take to keep your aging relative from suffering an eye injury. Experts say that almost 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented by wearing safety glasses. Some other protective steps include:
- Increase lighting in the house to prevent falls. Also, install secure handrails and remove loose rugs and clutter in walkways.
- Read the labels of chemicals and cleaners. Never mix them.
- Apply soft cushioning to sharp corners and edges around the home.
- Remove sticks, rocks, and other debris from the yard before mowing.
- Use a grease shield in the kitchen.
When an Eye Injury Occurs
Even when you take steps to prevent injuries, accidents can still happen. If your older family member hurts their eye, here are some things you should and shouldn’t do:
- Don’t allow the senior to touch or rub the eye.
- If an object is stuck on the surface of the eye or in the eye itself, don’t attempt to remove it on your own.
- Don’t put any medicine or ointments in the eye unless instructed to do so by a doctor.
- If the injury is from a chemical, flush the eye with clean water.
- Put a gauze patch or shield on the eye until the senior can receive medical attention.
Some seniors may be more prone to dangerous eye injuries because of cognitive issues that cause them to use poor judgement. Senior care providers can monitor their activities to ensure they don’t do anything that isn’t safe. Senior care providers can also remind older adults to use safety glasses or grease shields. Senior care providers can also do some of the tasks that could put the person in danger, such as cleaning and cooking.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN ROLESVILLE, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.
Kathy is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) who is active in several other senior related organizations, including Alzheimer’s State Champion program, Friends of the Northern Wake Senior Center board member, Ambassador for the Rolesville Chamber of Commerce, Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), Health Affairs Round Table (HART), and Senior Information Networking Group (SING).