Wiley X offers high-velocity protection with styles like the WX Knife.
Prevent Blindness America’s instructional sticker for safely jump-starting car batteries is offered free on its website.
SAFETY GLASSES AT HOME What safety glasses are best for home use, like during mowing the lawn or power trimming? ECPs should remind patients to choose eyewear for home use with a high impact rating. The frame will be marked “Z87+” to show it is a high-impact product. Also, safety glasses won’t do anyone any good if they are sitting on a shelf, so encourage your patients to use them regularly.
Bollé keeps young skiers’ eyes safe (Volt shown here).
Liberty’s WHY And HOW To Protect Your Patients Who Play Sports is a great resource for patients.
Athletes who practice winter sports can keep their eyes protected with Oakley’s Canopy goggles.

Offering patients solid information about vision protection can have an important and lasting impact on their lives.

Aiding good vision is what ECPs do every day when they perform eye examinations, make and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, and perform surgeries. While we work diligently at performing these functions, we don’t always take a proactive approach to promoting good vision by helping patients understand how to protect it. Here are some things you can do to help.

According to Prevent Blindness America, thousands of eye accidents happen each day and 90% of them are preventable. Many of these incidents take place at home. How can patients avoid those accidents?

When using hazardous chemicals and cleaners, patients should never mix cleaning agents, and should remember to wear safety goggles. (An alkali burn from toilet cleaners and oven cleaners, for example, is much more serious than an acid burn. In the event of a chemical splash to the eye, patients should flush the eyes for 15 minutes under running water and seek medical attention immediately.)

Flying champagne corks are another often-overlooked eye hazard. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, injuries happen more often when bottles haven’t been fully chilled, as the corks produce more force when they pop. And of course, the bottle’s cork should be pointed away from yourself and others at the time of opening.

All About Vision’s website offers several pointers for avoiding outdoor eye injuries. Before mowing the lawn, always look for and remove debris. Make sure all tools are in good working order and keep chemicals in a safe place in the garage or shed. Safety goggles are always recommended for mowing and using power tools.

Car battery need jumping? Always wear polycarbonate safety goggles certified for auto repair and never smoke when jump starting the battery with jumper cables. Prevent Blindness America offers a free battery jump-start sticker to keep in the garage or in the car for a quick how-to guide.

Bungee cords also can cause injury, so safety goggles should be worn when working with them. What about at-home fireworks or sparklers? It’s better to avoid these entirely. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2013 Fireworks Annual Report (released June 2014) revealed that 1,200 eye injuries took place during the 30 days surrounding July 4, 2013.

Parents may need some direction in protecting their kids’ eyes at home. Advise patients to keep their homes safe with safety gates, cushions around sharp corners on furniture, and locks on cabinets and drawers. Personal toiletries, utensils, and household chemicals should always be out of reach of little ones. Prevent Blindness America even has a safety toy checklist available online that focuses on how to buy age-appropriate toys. Parents should show children how to use their toys and supervise them.

According to the Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 15% of eye injuries occur during sports practices and games, and for children between the ages of 5 and 14, sports is the most common cause of eye injury. Most of these eye injuries could be prevented with the use of protective eyewear.

Baseball and softball represent the greatest risk of eye injury for this age group. Racquet sports and soccer bring their share of both major and minor injuries to the eye as well. Face masks have greatly reduced eye injuries in football; however, facial injuries-including injuries to the eyes-still make up 10% of football injuries. And basketball represents the greatest risk of eye injury when compared to other sports. Stick sports, volleyball, fishing, golf, paintball, and wrestling have elevated eye injuries reported so safety eyewear should be used as well. Snow sports and cycling have goggles available for the maximum level of protection.

The second way to help patients maintain their sight is to educate about the importance of protective eyewear and offer quality eye protection products. What is protective eyewear? The frames must meet or exceed the U.S. occupational safety ANSI Z87.1 standards.

Several eyewear companies offer great quality protective options. Hilco has the lightweight and durable Leader C2 RX sport goggle (for more information, see “Leader C2 Rx Sports Goggle Takes the Lead”), adding to its great collection of goggles. Wiley X, Inc. offers high-velocity protection in its tactical, motorcycle, racing, and outdoor sports eyewear. Liberty Sport makes goggles for multiple sports including baseball, tennis, racquetball, basketball, handball, and soccer. Oakley offers ski/ snowboard goggles to fit everyone from kids (starting at about ages 5 to 7) to adult. And Bollé’s ski/snowboard goggles fit everyone from age 3 to adult.

How do you get started offering protective eyewear in your office? Liberty has an excellent brochure for ECPs entitled WHY And HOW To Protect Your Patients Who Play Sports. The “Whys” of recommending sports protective eyewear are threefold. The report explains that it is our obligation as ECPs to help prevent eye injuries. Secondly, we want to protect our practice from the risk of malpractice by failing to warn patients about sport eye protection. And lastly, sports eyewear can create an additional profit center for your practice.

Liberty’s brochure also outlines how to sell protective eyewear with “the three I’s.” The first I is “Inquire.” The simple question, “Do you play sports?” should be part of every patient questionnaire in your dispensary and part of the patient history discussion in the exam room. That’s a simple way to find out who needs our help.

The second I is “Inform.” Liberty Sport offers an online training video for staff training. Something as simple as “I see your child plays basketball. We recommend protective eyewear for that activity because…” will get the ball rolling. A notation mentioning sports eyewear can be made right onto the Rx.

The third I is “Introduce.” It may seem obvious, but if we don’t present the options available, patients may not know to ask for them. Don’t keep those goggles under a counter-have several styles for various sports visible in the store, in a protective eyewear display. Sports eyewear patient brochures like this can be handed to parents or attached to the paperwork for the patient.

ECPs have an obligation to educate patients about protecting their eyes. Sharing safety information will help the public keep safe. It also has the potential to increase your revenue.

Kim Pickett is a certified ophthalmic medical technologist and ophthalmic writer in Minneapolis, MN.

All About Vision
American Academy of Ophthamology
Liberty Sport
Oakley, Inc.
Prevent Blindness America
Wiley X, Inc.


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