Radiation Safety Glasses: Identifying The Risks And Protecting Yourself
From the local delivery driver to the internationally-renowned neurosurgeon, every job comes with its own potential risks. Unfortunately, many of these risks aren’t just hypothetical, real injuries happen every day. It is very common for injuries to occur to one area of the body in particular, the eyes. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC): “Each day about 2000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one third of the injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments, and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days away from work.” That is a shocking statistic, especially since protective eyewear is so widely available.
Radiation: A Serious Risk
Occupational radiation exposure is one of the culprits of the eye injuries mentioned above. It is such an issue that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) holds conferences to discuss and form plans of action to protect the millions of people around the world that work with ionizing radiation. People at risk include, but are definitely not limited to, those in the medical field that work with x-rays inclusive of fluoroscopy and cath lab teams. The use of radiation to diagnose and treat diseases continues to grow across the globe. The benefits to those suffering from disease has been substantial. However, there are definite risks involved with exposure to radiation. Medical facilities protect the parts of the patients’ bodies that are not being explored or treated. However, what about the technician performing the test or procedure? Sadly, although almost all technicians are careful to protect their bodies from radiation, many do not protect their delicate eyes.
One of the sad and very common results of occupational radiation exposure is cataracts. Because cataracts develop slowly, they don’t always cause symptoms right away. However, once developed, they will eventually affect vision and can lead to blindness. Cataracts are currently the leading cause of blindness in the world. Unfortunately, some people will develop cataracts because of their age, genetics, or health issues. They are often not in a position to prevent the damage to their eyes. But should anyone deal with vision loss
simply because of not taking safety precautions at their place of employment? Here are some of the consequences that can be avoided with the right radiation safety glasses:
- Mildly blurry vision that progressively becomes very cloudy or dim
- Weak nighttime vision which can affect a person’s ability to drive after dark
- Sensitivity to sunlight or bright indoor lights, which can be very painful
- Needing to update to a stronger eyewear prescription more often than usual
- Changes in the way color is perceived, with many things appearing “yellow”
- The need for one or more surgeries to correct the problem
Choosing The Right Glasses
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), there are two main reasons for workplace eye injuries. One of them is that employees aren’t wearing protective eyewear at all. The second reason is that they are wearing the wrong type of eye protection. After seeing the wisdom in wearing radiation safety glasses, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you choose the right pair:
- The specifications should meet or exceed OSHA regulations for the specific radiation the worker is exposed to. Also, the absence of an OSHA regulation for a specific line of work does not necessarily mean there is no danger involved. Employers and employees alike should personally be concerned about safety, not solely taking precautions because it is mandated.
- Although safety is the motivation for buying these glasses, they should still be comfortable. Otherwise, it will be very tempting not to use them, especially if they must be worn for most of the day. Additionally, they should allow for enough of a peripheral view to do the entire job without the need for removing them.
- If the person being exposed to the radiation usually wears prescription glasses, the radiation eyewear should fit comfortably over those glasses. Otherwise, the radiation glasses themselves should be made with the person’s prescription. This will ensure that neither the safety of the employee nor the quality of the work being done is compromised. (For some strong prescriptions, it is always best to get RX radiation glasses since fit-overs can result in distorted vision.)
Unfortunately, an eye injury can cause anything from minor discomfort to eventual blindness. Thankfully though, workplace eye injury is highly preventable. In fact, it is estimated that using the correct protective eyewear can prevent about 90% of serious eye injuries. However, thousands of employees, including those that work with radiation, are still getting hurt every single day. Since the risk increases with each exposure to radiation, why not look into radiation safety glasses today?
Whether you are an employer trying to protect your workers or an employee who is interested in adding to the OSHA-required protection you are already benefiting from, Philips Safety Products has a wide variety of glasses to choose from. We have options that will perform the necessary function without skimping on style and comfort. This includes designer frames by Wiley X and Nike. We can also supply your radiation department with signage, as well as leaded barriers and shields.
Please contact us today with any questions you have about radiation safety glasses or other occupational safety products. We can also help if you face the hazards of lasers, welding, glass-working, and other fields. If you have something in mind but don’t see it on our website, please don’t hesitate to ask.