5 May 2020

COVID-19: A sharp rise in DIY-related eye injuries

Our advice on eye protection when working in the home or garden.

You may have seen recent reports that hospitals are seeing a sharp rise in serious eye injuries caused by DIY mishaps during lockdown. Patients should be advised to protect their eyes whenever and wherever they are doing work at home or in the garden. Help your patients look after their eyes with our advice on DIY and eye care during lockdown:

Wear protective eyewear
Wear protective eyewear for all activities where there is a risk of objects or liquids entering the eye (e.g. hammering, drilling, welding, painting ceilings or laying insulation). Ordinary glasses and sunglasses don’t offer good enough protection. Invest in good quality goggles or safety glasses that conform to the European Standard BSEN 166, or be prescribed prescription safety goggles by an optometrist.

Don’t touch your face
Avoid touching your face, at least until you have washed your hands. This will help prevent dust or chemicals getting into the eyes.

Don’t work alone 
Always have someone else available to help nearby.

Keep a first aid kit and phone handy
Just in case.

In the case of an accident:
• Do not rub your eyes. This could make matters worse.
• Go to A&E as soon as possible.
• Never wash a cut or punctured eye. Cuts should be bandaged lightly if possible. Go to A&E as soon as possible.
• If you get a chemical in your eye, rinse it out with copious amounts of saline eye wash, or running water. Go to A&E as soon as possible. 

Direct your patients to our advice on lookafteryoureyes.org, our award-winning patient website.

Related further reading

This paper describes the common visual problems associated with learning disability in adult patients.

This study reports on an audit carried out in the emergency eye care (EEC) service at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Kathy Oxtoby asks how optometrists can communicate effectively with patients who cannot verbally communicate.