Yard work may not seem dangerous, but appearances can be deceiving. Between 2000 and 2009, 81,907 Americans injured themselves while operating a lawn trimmer, and 42.5% of those people had eye injuries. If you don't wear proper eye protection while you're using tools like lawn trimmers, lawn mowers or leaf blowers, you could end up with serious eye injuries. Here are three things you need to know about safety glasses for yard work.
How does yard work cause eye injuries?
It's easier than you might think to injure your eyes while you're doing yard work. The blades of your lawn mower spin very quickly, and they can turn small pebbles, twigs, glass shards or even pieces of grass into projectiles. The string of your lawn trimmer can have the same effect. The tips of the lawn mower blades or the lawn trimmer string can also break off and become airborne.
Are all safety glasses suitable?
Safety glasses are designed to protect your eyes from specific situations, so if you already have a pair of safety glasses, they may not be suitable for yard work. For example, the safety goggles you use to protect your eyes from chemical splashes while you're cleaning may not be rated to withstand impacts.
When you shop for new safety glasses, look for "Z87+" somewhere on the frame. This designation means that the glasses are impact-rated. Safety glasses that are marked with "Z87" are rated non-impact and shouldn't be used for yard work.
Do regular eyeglasses offer protection?
It's a common misconception that regular prescription eyeglasses are a substitute for safety eyewear. Your eyeglasses are designed to help you see; they're not designed to stop impacts. If a projectile—like a pebble—hit your eyeglasses, the glass could shatter on impact and lead to a more serious eye injury. Plus, unless you wear wrap-around eyeglasses, projectiles could easily enter your eyes from the sides.
If you need vision correction, you have two options for safety glasses. Some types of impact-resistant safety glasses are designed to be worn on top of your regular eyeglasses. These safety glasses are bulky, but they're easily acquired at places like hardware stores. The other option is to get prescription safety glasses from your optometrist. While they're more expensive, you may find prescription glasses more comfortable.
If you need help selecting a pair of safety glasses for yard work, ask your optometrist, such as Focus West Optometry, for a recommendation.