Don’t ‘lose sight’ of safety during recreational summer season
12th January 2023
The Australian Society of Ophthalmologists (ASO) is urging Australians to keep an eye on safety this summer as the seasonal risk for recreational injuries is on the rise.
Ophthalmologists — our respected medical eye specialists and surgeons — report summer is the leading season for patients to present with accidental eye injuries, including penetrative trauma.
ASO Vice President Associate Professor Ashish Agar said mountain bike or trail riding, domestic home repairs, and gardening rank high among the ‘riskiest’ summer recreational activities.
“When it comes to leisurely activities like gardening, few pause to consider the risk of an accidental eye injury,” A/Prof Agar said.
“Surprising to everyone except ophthalmologists, we too frequently see patients who have received penetrative eye injuries while gardening because they did not take the essential precaution of wearing protective eyewear.
“Other commonplace scenarios for summer eye injuries occur during domestic home repairs, mountain bike and trail riding, and even bushwalking,” he said.
The ASO encourages all thrill and leisure seekers, regardless of age, to wear protective glasses during their recreational activities this summer.
“Before commencing your ‘summer of recreation’, consider your risks and be prepared with protective eyewear,” A/Prof Agar said.
“Protective glasses can be purchased affordably from your local Officeworks or Bunnings store, among numerous other online and in-store suppliers.”
In the event you or a loved one sustain an accidental eye injury this summer, the ASO said early first aid intervention could reduce the risk of long-term injury.
“If a foreign body gets in your eye but is not penetrating the eye, do not rub or attempt to remove it, flush the eye with clean water or a sterile saline solution if available,” A/Prof Agar said.
“If you have sustained swelling or bruising to intact skin around the eye, place a cold pack or ice wrapped within a wet cloth onto the area for periods of 20 minutes, several times a day.
“If you’ve sustained a penetrative injury to the eye or had direct contact with toxic chemicals — commonly found in cleaning sprays, domestic bleach cleaners and detergents — it is important to remain calm and seek immediate medical attention.
“Do not try to move or dislodge the penetrative object, and do not immediately attempt to flush the eye with water if in contact with chemicals — water added to certain chemicals can pose further risk of injury.
“Always read the label on the chemical package and follow the first aid treatment instructions for that specific item.”
The ASO also noted that parents should be mindful and cautious of gifts from Santa that shoot projectiles or have pointy edges, which can pose a risk to the eye safety of children.