Dentistry isn’t known for its propensity to create hazardous work environments, and chances are you didn’t enter the field for the pure adrenaline. This doesn’t mean, however, that your job in the dental world will be free from workplace dangers and accidents.
As a committed member of the medical field, you know the risks associated with close contact with your patients, but you might not be aware of the risks that threaten your eyesight on the job. The Stoggles team has an eye (pun intended) for vision-related risks. While you focus on your patients’ oral care, we’ll help you understand the need for protective eyewear while you work.
What Are The Risks?
Dental care is standard procedure for you and your staff, but there’s a decent amount of danger with your profession. You take every measure to protect yourself and your patients from the transfer of harmful bacteria and germs, but leaving your eyes vulnerable shouldn't be an option.
Splashes and Splatters
We aren’t saying you aren’t an ace with the dental irrigator, but we’re guessing if you’ve spent more than a few months on the job, you’ve had a patient irrigate your face with the same water you just used to keep their teeth clean.
Whether it’s a rogue water jet, a sneeze, or saliva, there’s always the potential for splashes and splatters to enter your eye area while you are treating your patients.
Impact From Dental Devices
Most practices use high-speed handheld equipment to help care for their patient's teeth and gums. While these devices are extremely useful, they do present a risk to your eye health. The speed with which these devices operate is capable of dislodging a piece of tooth or other matter from your patient’s mouth and sending it flying (at high speeds) into your eyes.
This could result in issues ranging from minor irritations to even loss of vision, depending on the size and location of the strike. Ultrasonic devices are used daily in dental practices but carry a risk of shooting particulates into your eyes.
Exposure To UV Light
Ultraviolet rays are damaging to your vision and may even cause early-onset vision loss due to macular degeneration. As such, it’s important to protect your eyes whenever you are exposed to these rays.
The dental industry is highly advanced, and the use of UV light to cure polymers and enhance the fluorescence of patients’ teeth is common. Your eyes should be protected each and every time you use your UV tool.
Additionally, many dental offices depend on UV rays for the sterilization of their tools. Even if you’re incredibly careful, there’s always an opportunity for you to be exposed to UV light. Never handle UV ray equipment without protecting your eyes.
What Can Happen?
We’ll admit, your eyes aren’t at risk as much as they might be on a construction site or even at home when you’re doing yard work. In fact, you’re more likely to suffer a musculoskeletal issue, like tendonitis, than you are a vision-related injury.
Despite the lower risk, 10% of all dental office work-related injuries are eye-related. That’s a significant number considering the reduced risk.
If you sustain an eye-related injury, it’s very likely you’ll miss work. Of the 2,000 eye injuries sustained on the job each day, about 100 of them result in missed work. Missed work means less income, rearranging schedules for both yourself and your patients, and of course, the potential for a visit to the emergency room.
If you sustain an eye injury, it could negatively impact your career. As a dental professional, your vision is crucial to your practice. Sustaining an eye-related injury could have negative implications for your career and for your practice.
The thing about retinal cells that makes them unique is that they don’t regenerate. This means when they get damaged, there’s no repairing them. If you sustain an injury that affects your retina, there’s a chance you could permanently affect your vision.
Vision loss seems like a significant consequence, especially considering that most eye-related injuries are completely preventable simply by wearing protective eyewear.
How To Protect Yourself
Thankfully, neither you nor your staff members need to subject yourselves to potential eye injuries. Most all eye-related injuries on the job are completely preventable by wearing protective safety glasses.
Since safety glasses are definitely our thing, we can help you scope out what features you’ll need to fully protect your eyes while you’re at work. Here are six features your glasses need to have for excellent eye protection.
1. Top and Side Shields
Regular glasses leave your eyes vulnerable at the top of the lens (near the eyebrow) and on the sides (near the temples). It’s completely possible for particles, splashes, and splatters to enter your eye area through these gaps.
Safety glasses create a shield between the top of your lens and your brow and across each temple, ensuring your eyes have 360-degree protection.
2. Shatter Resistance
High-speed hand tools require shatter-resistant lenses and frames. Your standard glasses or sunglasses don’t protect your eyes from strikes and could even shatter if hit a certain way.
To ensure your glasses are fit to commercial industry standards, look for the ANSI Z87.1 certification seal imprinted on your glasses. To be ANSI compliant, your safety glasses pass both weight and velocity tests to ensure the frames and lenses don’t break when impacted.
For the ultimate in shatter resistance, look for ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification. To earn this standard, lenses and frames undergo two tests:
- Weight test. During this test, a weighted ball bearing is dropped onto the lenses and frames to determine if they are shatterproof.
- High-velocity test. For this test, a ball bearing is shot at the glasses and frames at a high speed.
The glasses must not crack, shatter, or break to pass both of these tests.
3. UV Protection
It’s essential your glasses offer UV protection because you work with UV ray emitting devices. UV protection and the coloration or darkness of your glasses are two separate specs. As such, clear safety glasses can offer you UV protection provided that they have been treated with UV protective coating.
Stoggles safety glasses are made from polycarbonate material which is lightweight, crystal clear, and is naturally UV blocking. This means your glasses protect your eyes from harmful rays while also protecting them from spills and splatters. Thanks, glasses!
4. Blue Light Blocking
While you’re protecting your eyes from UV light, consider protecting them from UV light’s not-so-distant cousin, too. Blue light rays are emitted from the sun and also from devices like tablets, computers, and smartphones. You’ll also find blue light emitted from certain types of commercial light bulbs.
Blue light can cause eye strain, fatigue, and even headaches. Hours spent reviewing dental records can leave you with blurry vision and may even lead to eye damage. We aren’t sure how much damage blue light may cause our eyes, so it’s the best practice to protect them from it.
We all know how annoying it can be to deal with foggy glasses. Glasses that continually fog, either from your breath or from coming into contact with different temperatures, present a two-part problem:
- It takes you off task. Glasses that fog demand to be dealt with. You can’t work on your patients’ teeth while you can’t see them. You’ll be taken off task while you attempt to deal with the fog on your glasses, which takes time and distracts you from your work, leaving the potential for mistakes.
- It leaves your eyes vulnerable to injury. Any time you have to remove your glasses to wipe away the fog, your eyes are at risk of injury. Safety glasses only work when they’re on your face and worn correctly.
Anti-fog lenses can prevent the constant need to wipe your glasses down. Historically, they work better than anti-fog wipes, which aren’t made to last longer than a few hours.
5. Supreme Style
This isn’t so much a requirement as it is a strong recommendation. Ultimately, you shouldn’t have to choose between protecting your eyes and retaining your sleek sense of style. Secondarily, if you don’t love your glasses, you won’t wear them. Safety glasses that aren’t worn don’t protect your eyes from anything.
With Stoggles, you never have to choose between fashion and function. You can have both. We offer different shapes and colors so you can fully customize your safety glasses to your favorite scrubs or simply your mood.
Protect Your Eyes While Your Protect Their Teeth
Your eyes are as important to your business as the teeth you treat. Keep them safe from your on-the-job dangers with the only glasses designed to protect your vision and your style. Stoggles are streamlined and sleek as they are protective and durable.
Alternative Methods of Sterilization in Dental Practices Against COVID-19|NCBI
(PDF) Application of ultraviolet light (UV) in dental medicine|Researchgate.net
Eye-related trauma and infection in dentistry|NCBI
A review: role of ultraviolet radiation in age-related macular degeneration|PubMed