Why and How to Protect Your Eyes When Working with Radiation

Do you work in the medical field? Do you work with radiation on a regular basis? If so, you probably know how important it is to protect yourself during those times when you are exposed to radiation. It’s likely that you wear a leaded apron and other protective items during these times in order to protect your body from the various damages that regular exposure to radiation can cause.

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That said, it’s possible that you do not quite realize just how damaging radiation can be for your eyes. Sure, you may have heard this here and there. However, because there has been little information on the topic until recently, and because radiation safety glasses were once so heavy and uncomfortable, the practice of protecting one’s eyes when working with radiation hasn’t been a popular one.

Today, however, much more is known about the negative effects radiation can have on the eyes. Therefore, it is becoming more and more accepted (and expected!) for safety eyewear to be worn and for other safety steps to be taken. Fortunately, radiation safety glasses have also become more comfortable and stylish over the years, making wearing them on a daily basis a lot more bearable.

By investing in a pair of these improved safety glasses and taking a few extra steps here and there, you can ensure the safety of your eyes while you go about your day-to-day tasks.

Why should I actively protect my eyes when working with radiation?

If you’re reluctant to begin donning safety glasses and following other eye-safety rules throughout the work day, perhaps you should have a better understanding of why this is necessary. Consider the three most common negative effects radiation exposure can have on the eyes before brushing the idea of safety eyewear aside:

  1. Cataracts — Of the three most common issues that people who work with radiation tend to develop, cataracts are seen the most often. This problem occurs when proteins in the eye form clumps, something that hinders vision greatly as those clumps grow. As cataracts mature, they almost always require surgical removal in order to prevent eventual blindness.
  2. Dry Eye — A less severe—but still annoying and potentially dangerous—eye issue caused by radiation is chronic dry eye. This particular issue tends to cause itching and redness in and around the eye, and may require the affected person to use eye drops on a regular basis. It can also lead to infection due to the fact that the usual eye fluids are not present to wash away bacteria.
  3. Permanent Blindness — Not as common as the other two issues but a possibility nonetheless, permanent blindness has been linked to regular radiation exposure. Considering how this is a life-changing problem that nobody should have to deal with, it would seem that simply following suggested safety instructions is well worthwhile in order to avoid the loss of an incredibly important sense.

How can I effectively protect my eyes when working with radiation?

Knowing the damage radiation can cause to your eyes, you are likely now wondering the best way to ensure your eyes are safe while you work. Fortunately, by taking the proper precautions, you needn’t worry about any of the issues listed above.

Try these simple things to ensure your eyes are as safe as possible in your workplace:

Continued Education

Because the information we have on radiation and its effects on the body is always changing, one of the most important things a person can do when attempting to work safely is to stay up-to-date on the most recent information and safety protocols. You can do this by reading up-to-date materials put out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as the American Optometric Association and other reputable sources. Safety workshops and videos can also be valuable tools in continuing your safety education.

Observation of Recommendations

Once you know the most up-to-date recommendations put out by the most reputable sources, it is crucial that you actually observe those recommendations. This may mean making sure to update outdated tools and equipment and adding additional safety steps to your routine when necessary.

Invest in the Proper Safety Wear

Of course, you will need some safety goggles or glasses. However, it is important to note that not just any glasses will work. You see, it is actually quite important that you find the right eyewear for you and your situation in order to ensure you are fully protected.

This means making sure the glasses or goggles you choose have a proper fit. It also means purchasing prescription safety eyewear (if necessary) in order to ensure you can see properly while working. Finally, it is crucial that you purchase lenses with at least .75mm lead equivalency.

Regular Visits to the Optometrist

The final step on the road to eye safety when working with radiation is scheduling and attending regular appointments with your optometrist. While following safety guidelines and wearing high-quality safety glasses should prevent eye issues from occurring, it is still ideal to keep an eye on things so that anything out of the ordinary can be addressed as soon as possible. After all, your vision is not something to take lightly.

If you are looking for a high-quality pair of radiation safety glasses or goggles, we hope you will take the time to look around our store. We carry a wide selection of safety eyewear in order to ensure you can find the perfect set for your situation.

Want to learn more? Please contact us today!

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