Checklist for home eye safety

October is Home Eye Safety Month. You may not think of your home as a place where you could damage your eyes or even lose your eyesight. But nearly half of the 2.5 million eye injuries that occur in the U.S. each year happen in or near the home—more than injuries at work and school combined.

Most of these eye injuries take place during routine tasks inside and outside your home.

Here is a handy checklist to help you stay safe:

  • Avoid falls and slips: Secure loose rugs and other tripping hazards that might result in eye and other physical injuries. Use a nonskid mat inside the bathtub or shower and on the bathroom floor. Tighten handrails for indoor and outdoor stairs and walkways, and provide sufficient lighting.
  • Practice hand and eye hygiene: Wash your hands after completing each task and before touching your eyes or face. If you wear contact lenses, wash your hands before taking the contacts out and disinfect them to avoid infection.
  • Keep children safe: Store cleaning materials, kitchen utensils, pesticides, paints and glue out of reach from children. Similarly, keep personal-use items like cosmetics and toiletry products in a secure area. Baby-proof your home by cushioning sharp corners and edges of furnishings and home fixtures.
  • Protect your eyes while cooking: When you are preparing foods that might splatter hot grease, oil or steam, use grease shields on frying pans to protect them from splattering.

What to do in case of an emergency: Get medical attention as soon as possible. While awaiting professional treatment for a chemical splash, hold eyes open with thumb and index finger, and flood them with cool, clean water for 15-20 minutes. For flying particles, don’t pull or squeeze the eye or try to remove the object; cover both eyes to prevent movement.