As more affordable do-it-yourself technology becomes available, homeowners are increasingly saving money on services like carpet cleaning, cosmetic care, and yard work. But while DIY chores save big money, inexperienced homeowners often don’t take proper safety precautions. While, most service industries are highly regulated to prevent employee and customer injury, when you do a chore yourself, many of unforeseen health risks go unchecked.
Lawn mowers epitomize this trend. Mowers have been injuring their users ever since their inception; in 2010, about 253,000 people were treated for mower injuries nationwide, including 17,000 children. These injuries range from broken and dislocated bones to deep cuts to burns to missing fingers and toes, but the most common wounds—and often the most severe—are to the eye. Vision Care Specialists treats several mower injuries every summer, from mild corneal abrasions and hemorrhages to retinal detachment and ruptured globes, which can cause blindness. Just last week, Vision Care Specialists board certified surgical ophthalmologist, Dr. Gregory Kouyoumdjian, performed a corneal transplant on a child who nearly lost his eye due to a lawn mowing accident. “This was both sad and scary,” said Dr. K, “this young patient had a punctured cornea, the result of a flying pebble that was shot into his eye while operating a common weed-whacker. He would have lost vision in that eye if not for recent advances in corneal transplant surgery. While I am pleased with the outcome, all of this could have been prevented if the patient had been wearing protective glasses or sunglasses.”
So how do these injuries happen, and how can we prevent them? The most common accidents occur when the lawn mower picks up a piece of debris from the lawn and flings it back, turning it into a fast, dangerous projectile that can fly over 50 feet. Here’s how you protect yourself:
- Clear all debris—sticks, stones, toys, glass, metal, and wire—off of the lawn before mowing
- Attach a grass catcher to your lawn mower
- Check the mower blades: thin or worn blades can break off and become harmful flying objects
- Wear protective eyewear, ideally polycarbonate safety goggles that meet ANSI Z87 standards
- Wear sturdy shoes, pants, and sound-blocking headphones for protection
- Practice child safety: let no child under 12 operate a mower and never without adult supervision, keep children indoors or create a “danger zone” 20 feet around the mower and shut off the machine if a child nears
- Use a safe mower that stops moving when its handle is released
- Be aware of your surroundings, and avoid moving the mower backwards
- Riding lawn mowers: wear sturdy shoes, make sure operator is 16 or older, and never take children as passengers
If you take these precautions, you shouldn’t have to worry about any backyard injuries. Do-it-yourself chores definitely pay off, but never forget: safety first!
How to use this Information
At Vision Care Specialists, we want you to live the safest life you can, but we know accidents happen, and we’re here to help. Whether you need routine Denver eye care or emergency Colorado eye surgery, our Denver eye doctors are the answer. Stay safe and healthy by setting up an eye appointment today: contact us at 303-991-9600 or schedule an appointment online for the most comprehensive eye exam in the Rocky Mountain region.
Tell us how you stay safe while doing yard work!