Protect your eyes during seasonal chores

'Healthy Living'

Protect your eyes during seasonal chores

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

A handyman was replacing weather stripping around the doors in our house. While the old pieces were off and before the new ones went on, he asked if I wanted to clean off the grime in the doorframe. Regular spray cleaner and a paper towel weren’t making much headway, so I grabbed a sponge and my big bottle of household bleach.

You can probably see where this is heading. As I scrubbed directly overhead with that wet sponge, a large drip hit me right in the eye. Fortunately, it was more water than bleach, and I was steps away from a sink where I quickly rinsed my eye. Even so, it teared and burned for a good while and my vision was slightly blurred the rest of the day. And I was lucky it wasn’t worse: Getting chemical cleaners in your eye can cause a corneal ulcer or even blindness.

And chemicals aren’t the only eye dangers you can encounter this time of year as you complete chores and prep your home for any season. See if any of these potential eye hazards are on your to-do list:
• Cleaning out gutters and downspouts
• Trimming errant tree limbs and shrubs
• Washing exterior windows and doors
• Pointing up mortar around bricks or cracks in cement patios

Of course, few of us can afford to hire someone to take care of all our home chores. But it’s entirely possible to tackle these jobs safely with a little care and forethought. The number one tip to protect your eyes while in DIY mode is to wear protective goggles or glasses.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends every household have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear for use during household projects, such as yardwork, that put your eyes at risk. Don those goggles while using toxic chemicals, too: Fumes from paint and cleaners can also damage your eyes.

In my case, I could also have protected my eyes by using my feet — as in going to the garage for a step ladder so I could work at eye level, not above it. Making sure you have — and use — the right equipment can make the job both easier and safer.

With the right precautions, your home won’t just be looking good this spring — you’ll be able to enjoy a good look at it, too.

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