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October is Eye Injury Prevention Month. The month-long observance is focused on reminding people to protect their eyes. Eye injuries can occur in many different places, from the workplace to homes to sports fields.

The work environment can be one of the most dangerous places for the eyes. Flying and falling objects in the workplace are the leading causes of eye injuries. Many problems occur when people forget to wear protective eyewear.

Eye injuries can result from human actions, or they can occur due to natural disasters. Penetrating eye injuries, foreign bodies in the cornea, chemical exposures, and hyphema due to trauma are the most common eye injuries resulting from disasters. Explosions, strong winds, falling objects, collapsing buildings due to fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural calamities may cause these eye injuries.

The eye is particularly vulnerable to damaging exposure during events like home or building fires, chemical explosions, accidents while disposing of hazardous materials, volcanic eruptions, or terrorist attacks, such as the case of the 1995 Tokyo sarin subway attack.

Visual impairment may result in eye injuries unless prompt and appropriate measures are initiated. Emergency medical personnel must be trained to recognize and address eye injuries immediately.
Disaster management teams that respond to catastrophic events, such as floods in the Houston area after Hurricane Harvey, include medical specialists from the fields of mental health and respiratory medicine. Some teams, unfortunately, do not include ophthalmologists or optometrists who could recognize and address eye injuries sustained by victims.

The risks of eye injuries are very high in a disaster. They are even higher in the aftermath of the calamity as people start cleaning up debris. Utah disaster cleanup specialists play a critical role in the post-disaster remediation process. The professionals have the training and equipment to safely clean disaster areas and pave the way for rebuilding.