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What’s the “space age” plastic that’s appeared in everything from astronaut helmet shields to children’s glasses? It’s called polycarbonate, or, as your eye doctor may say, “polycarb”. It’s important stuff, and has probably saved many an eye from serious injury.
VSP optometrist Jennifer Stone, OD, knows all about it, and what can happen when it’s not used. The Greenville, Texas doctor cares about eyes. Many of them happen to belong to a big local population of industrial welders. You know the searing pain a wayward eyelash in your eye can cause, right? Well, imagine how a metal shaving feels. That’s the most common eye injury Dr. Stone sees.
Another Greenville, Texas doctor, Herbert Williams, OD, also treats eye injuries. Often the patients were just working in their yard or workshop over a weekend when a random bit of something lodged in their eye. Sometimes the results are mere irritation; other times, vision loss can be the result.
So the question is, when was the last time you wore the right kind of eyewear for the task at hand?
It’s a safety precaution few take, but many learn about only after it’s too late. It doesn’t have to be that way. Polycarbonate safety glasses are easy to order through your VSP doctor. Your employer may even cover some of the cost. Read on to find out more about these vision-saving accessories and when you should wear them.
You can find safety glasses made of industrial strength glass and impact resistant plastic. They do meet current eye protection standards. But nothing beats polycarbonate. It’s the safest and most impact-resistant lens material. And yes, polycarbonate has been used for astronaut helmet shields and space shuttle window shields. It’s that strong.
Besides lenses, you also can find frames of high-impact plastic or polycarbonate. Protective (and fashionable) designs are available in goggles, wraps and shields – look for rubber padding to cushion the face even more. If you don’t wear prescription lenses, you can find protective eyewear at your VSP doctor’s office or at a sporting goods store.
Do you have a physical job where you rely on your eyes to do a task? You may need safety eyewear for your important work. Even though you know what you’re doing, the chemical or machine you’re working with might not. Protect your eyes no matter what, and wear safety glasses.
We can all be a bit careless when it comes to safety and household chores. But if you’re cutting wood, mowing the lawn or doing something fun like building a model plane, an unexpected flying object or chemical could injure your eyes. Safety glasses can prevent that.
At work or in serious housework, you might more quickly see how safety eyewear can be helpful. But in sports, many people just plain forget all about it. Don’t, say Drs. Williams and Stone. “Basketball has a high rate of eye injury,” says Dr. Stone. “Jabs by elbows and fingernails to eyes are so common.” Dr. Williams adds that any racquet sport or one involving “flying objects” also needs special eye-protecting equipment.
While we might quickly use kneepads or a helmet, we can often put the safety of our eyes at a lower priority, but we shouldn’t. Our eyes are our windows to wellness, but they can also be a door to injury.
A small and simple precaution like the right pair of safety glasses can do the trick. Talk to your VSP doctor to find out more.