Posted by: juliegriffey | January 1, 2012

Are your eyeglasses offering you the eye protection you need?

Over the holidays I spent a lot of time with my husband’s family. At one point I overhead my husband (an ER physician) relaying a tale of a nasty eye infection to his brother (an ophthalmologist).  This is the kind of exciting things they talk about…. But because I work in the optical industry, of course my ears perked up.

My husband saw a patient recently who had been grinding metal and in doing so, got a small metal particle stuck in his eye.  This patient had the metal in his eye 3-4 days before it irritated him enough to show up in the ER to see what was going on.  At this point the eye had gotten infected and his vision was impaired.  Fortunately, my husband was able to remove the particle and prescribe an antibiotic to eliminate the infection.

My husband found it odd that the patient reported he was wearing glasses when the particle flew into his eye.  He initially suspected that the patient was lying. However, the patient explained that even when he wears his glasses when grinding metal particles often get stuck in his eyes and usually he just plucks them out.  Apparently, the rotating motion of the grinder flicks the particles in a trajectory that can get behind a pair of glasses.  My husband’s brother (Dr. Paul, the ophthalmologist) concurred.

Many safety glasses could keep metal particles out of the eyes of a metal grinder as safety glasses cover the space between the face and the front of the lens.  I’m sure there other professions where particles fly in an unpredictable fashion and practitioners assume that their regular glasses provide adequate eye protection. In these cases a pair of safety glasses would offer much better protection than standard eyeglasses.

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