In total around 30,000 eye injuries a year are linked to DIY activity, many caused by flying wood, metal or concrete chips.
Protective eyewear should be worn for activities such as hammering, chiselling, drilling, stripping paint, splitting tiles or concrete slabs, welding, painting ceilings and laying insulation. The rule of thumb is that if there is a risk of any object entering the eye, wear protective eyewear.
Another common activity that can lead to eye injury is gardening. You don’t need to wear goggles for this, but some glasses or sunglasses can be useful to protect against canes poking you in the eye when bending down weeding or pruning.
When you buy eyewear protection, check it conforms to European Standard BSEN 166. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, these will not protect your eyes sufficiently, and protective eyewear should be worn on top to ensure adequate protection. Alternatively, you can have prescription goggles fitted by your local optometrist.
If you do experience an eye injury it is important to not rub the eye. You should seek medical assistance immediately.
College of Optometrists advice on protecting your eyes during DIY:
- Follow the instructions and guidelines provided with the DIY equipment you are using. If it advises that you need protective clothing then ensure you follow the advice.
- Make sure protective eyewear is up to standard – check eyewear protection conforms to the European Standard BSEN 166.
- Keep your goggles on – many injuries occur when people lift goggles to take a closer look. Make sure you keep them on for the duration of the task.
- Do not rub the eye – take care in touching the eyes, particularly if handling chemicals. If you do get something in your eye, do not rub it and make sure you seek medical attention immediately.
- If in doubt ask your local optometrist, who will be able to advise you on protective eyewear.