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Eye Protection: What you need to know

Eye protection is something that needs to be on everyone's mind. Everyone needs to be conscious of taking the proper precautions in protecting their eyes whether they are working on projects at home, participating in sports or working on the job. The American Acaedemy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Society of Ocular Trauma (ASOT) has specific recommendations for every kind of activity that has the potential of causing injury to the eyes. Both the AAO and ASOT recommend that every household have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear, which should be worn whenever a task is being performed that poses a risk to the eyes. Consumers need to look for protective eyewear with "ANSI Z87.1" marked on the lens or frame. This means that the eyewear meets the American National Standards Institute safety standard. You can find this kind of eyeware in most hardware stores. The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) has set standards for protective eyewear for those playing sports and those standards are below:
  • Racket sports, lacrosse, field hockey, baseball and basketball require eyewear with the ASTM F803 specification.
  • Hockey players should look for ASTM F513 eyewear.
  • Paintball sports participants require ASTM F1776 protection.
  • ASTM F1587 is specified for ice hockey goalies.
  • Those participating in youth baseball should wear ASTM F910 gear.
  • Alpine Skiers need to look for ASTM 659
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific standards for what eye protection is needed for workers to perform their jobs safely and human resource departments should have that information available. So before undertaking any activity that could be risky for your eyes, you need to be sure that you are wearing the proper protective eyewear. If you have any questions about what is best for you, please contact your eye care professional.

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