Encourage Eye Safety for Hobbies
Sport and safety eyewear should be discussed at every patient encounter.
Kenneth Daniels, O.D., F.A.A.O., Hopewell, NJ
Consider the patient who experienced an alkaline burn to the cornea, the patient who had a thorn enter her left eye; the patient whose weed whacker belt injury penetrated his cornea; the patient who was hit in the eye by a nerf ball, resulting in a commotio retinae; the patient whose paint ball injury left her aphakic, with a retinal detachment and anridia. Clinical images presented here. In all these cases, the simple use of protective eyewear could have prevented the devastating injuries incurred by these individuals.
Here are simple steps to follow with every patient to help protect your patients’ vision while they are enjoying their hobbies.
Ask Questions – Give Answers
As we delve into the history of each of our patients, it is simple enough to ask in which activities they participate and then address the need based on that activity. For example, I am a cyclist and will bring my experience to the conversation of using a sweep-back frame design to reduce wind shears and dust and a lens switching system that I use and then select the appropriate ones based on the environmental lighting. But, we do not need to be athletes or weekend warriors to understand a patient’s avocation and occupation. The simple art of conversation will elicit the requirements of their activities. We ask questions and ask of the patient to give answers to their needs. Asking questions and having a conversation allows eye care practitioners to define the specific eye care needs of each patient. Asking questions and having a conversation allows eye care practitioners to define the specific eye care needs of each patient.
In our practice, we see a large number of scientists from universities and pharmaceutical firms. We ask about the safety requirements of their labs and refresh them on OSHA regulations, the regulations setforth for sport safety called ANSI standards and the NJ State law requiring protective eyewear for sport safety eyewear.
Educate on Safety Standards
Reinforce to patients that sport/safety eyewear, although readily available at the local hardware or sport shop, is not prescriptive and does not come with the advice of the eyecare practitioner. Educate your patients on the following safety measures that you can provide:
Sports/safety eyewear standards: Educate patients on the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) International and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards that qualify sport/safety eyewear differently as compared to traditional dress eyewear. Patients should know there are two important U.S. standards for protective eyewear: ASTM F803 and ANSI Z87.1
Protective sports eyewear are eyeglass frames or goggles designed and manufactured to meet or exceed applicable U.S. impact protection standards. All protective sports eyewear must have polycarbonate lenses designed to withstand impact. Benefits to polycarbonate lenses include UV protection and scratch resistance. The material has also been used to create high impact-resistant frames.
In New Jersey, since 2006, the state mandates the use of protective eyewear in organized sport. “Any child who wears corrective eyeglasses while participating in racquetball, squash, tennis, women’s lacrosse, basketball, women’s field hockey, badminton, paddleball, soccer, volleyball, baseball or softball, sponsored by a school, community or government agency, shall be required to wear protective eyewear that meets the frames standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F803 and lens standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1.”4 Identify whether such laws exist in your area, and inform your patients of it as you are making your recommendations.
For more read an article published by Dr. Daniels at: https://www.optometricmanagement.com/issues/2021/april-2021/encourage-eye-safety-for-activities