Eye protection is often an overlooked aspect in gardening. But, it is very important to stay safe especially when handling potentially toxic plants or operating power tools. And, to make sure your eyes are kept from harm’s way, here are the best safety glasses and goggles for gardening.
These ensure that eye injuries never happen since these can result in issues that are mild or temporary to something more serious and permanent. In some cases, they can case partial or total blindness.
Garden Hazards, Dangers & Health Risks That Affect Your Eyes
As great a hobby as gardening is, it also has some potential negative effects.
The thing is, many of them are kind of subtle in that you don’t really notice that they can be harmful to you because they are not always that obvious.
Here’s a list of things that can pose danger or cause damage to your eyes when you’re outside in your yard or garden.
Extended Sun Exposure
This is the most obvious.
Gardening is fun. And in most cases, it requires you to spend a bit of time under the sun. This is especially true if you have a large yard, lots of plants or like to landscape or decorate.
In general, the sun is very healthy. It provides your body with much needed vitamin D. And, you get a nice tan along the way.
However that same tan is caused by harmful UV rays. These ultraviolet rays not only damage skin and with long exposure cause skin problems, but it also damages your eyes.
Longs exposure to the sun’s direct rays while gardening can damage and cause degeneration inf your cornea and retina. It can lead to cataracts as well.
Our eyes are also 10 times more sensitive than skin which means that in addition to sunscreen or long sleeved clothing it is a good idea to wear sunglasses that have UV protection.
Another problem that’s related to your eyes is something called dry eye syndrome.
You probably already experienced this if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer or digital device.
Focusing on something intently like your screen without blinking or giving your eyes some rest prevents tears from lubricating your eyes.
Since your eyes are like your joints, they need lubrication. This prevents scraping or damaging the surface of your eyes from possible abrasion.
In addition dry eyes also increase your risk of eye infection, inflammation and corneal ulcers.
Outside under the sun your tears evaporate quickly due to the heat and the sun’s rays. So, it is a good idea to shield your eyes or get some rest while you garden under some kind of shade. Blinking a few times to make the tear ducts lubricate your eyes every so often also helps.
Unfortunately, many of the beautiful and colorful flowers are not only poisonous but also very dangerous in their own way.
In many cases, they use these characteristics to defend themselves in the wild. As such, some plants have shade thorns while others can cause skin irritation. With the latter, you don’t want to touch your eyes without washing your hands first.
Similarly, many plants pose toxicity risks when ingested. As such, keeping kids and pets away from these plants is a good idea.
Yet there are some plants that can release poisonous substances that can get into your eyes. One example is the Euphorbia plant which sprays toxic substances that can easily get to your eyes if there’s no barrier between your eyes and the plant.
Pollen from Plants
Pollen is a natural part of many plants. That’s because the plant uses pollen to reproduce. Because pollen is loosely connected to the plant intentionally, gusts of wind can easily blow these small particles into the air.
For many people pollen causes allergies and irritation. This can vary from mild to very serious.
In addition to entering your nasal passages, they can also get into your eyes causing irritation.
This is another potentially very dangerous problem that come with gardening and lawn care.
I say potentially because a lot of it depends on what kind of chemicals you use and how much of them you use.
Many gardening products contain chemicals. This includes fertilizer, pesticide and insecticide just to name a few. And regular exposure or in some cases direct exposure can eventually lead to cancer, mutations, birth defects and other issues.
It is also why many gardeners choose to create their own gardening products from safer materials. I know many successful gardeners who use as little fertilizer as possible. And, instead rely of compost and other more natural meals of feeding their plant.
Similarly, creating your own insecticidal soap or pest control system reduces the need to tor rely on commercial products.
Of course, the easiest way to protect yourself is to be conscious of these chemicals. Protecting your eyes, nose, mouth and skin when you use them goes a long way in avoiding side effects.
Also, go with organic products as opposed to those that are chemical-laden even if the latter is cheaper.
- Best Gardening Shoes, Boots & Clogs to Protect Your Feet
- Which Plastics Are Safe for Gardening
- How to Use a Rain Gauge to Measure Rainfall
- 11 Easy DIY Garden Fertilizer Recipes
- DIY Potting Soil Recipes – How to Make Your Own Potting Soil
- How to Test Soil in the Home Garden
Dust, Debris and Dirt
These small particles can easily enter your eyes.
They include small specks of soil, sand, dirt, grass or pieces of grass. Twigs and other sharper objects can also get blown by the wind at times.
I’ve also seen branches fall without warning or sometimes due to rains and strong winds.
Small insects can likewise get close to your eyes and cause irritation.
Finally, there’s gardening tools.
This especially applies to tools with sharp edges and tips like shovels, spades, grass clippers, pruning shears and rakes.
Then, there are the power tools. These are great because they make life so much easier and get the job done with much less effort.
But, the motor can make them more dangerous. In addition to the loud noise that can damage your ears, there’s the vibration that can affect the nerves of your hands.
Finally, the ends of these devices often have some kind of sharp blade or object. This includes chainsaws, string trimmers and many more.
How to Protect Your Eyes in the Garden
Because there are many potential dangers and situations where your eyes can be put at risk. It is always a good idea to use some kind of eye protection when gardening.
Below, I’ve listed down the best eye protection devices around. Each has their own pros and cons. And, they all look and feel different when worn.
As such, it is a good idea to see which one suits you the best.
Use Safety Goggles
Safety goggles are probably the easiest one because if you do any kind of woodwork or use power tools, you already have these.
Thus, you can use them to garden as you would when using the electric or gas tools.
If you regularly use glasses, it is a good idea to get prescription safety goggles so you don’t have a problem with vision.
Safety goggles are strong and transparent. So, they don’t hinder your vision. Yet, they protect you from incoming objects and projectiles. They also prevent dust and other particles from getting into your eyes.
If you prefer more air circulation, then safety glasses are another option. They provide a little less protection than goggles because they only cover the front side of your eyes much like eyeglasses do.
But, this also lets air flow easily which for most people, including myself, let you feel more comfortable as you work in the garden.
Wear Splash Goggles
Splash goggles offer a little more coverage in terms of objects coming at you or liquids splashing. They come with a head strap and the goggles not only cover the front but are encased so that the areas above, to the sides and below your eyes are covered as well.
This ensures that no matter where the chemicals, liquids or debris come from, they’ll never come in contact with your eyes.
Not a lot of people knew about face shields before Covid came around. But, This is definitely a good way to get full face coverage so nothing gets into your eyes, nose and mouth.
Like everyone else, I do find face shield a bit more cumbersome than goggles because the shield also restricts breathing a bit. So, it’s an acquired taste.
UV Rated Sunglasses
So far all the protective eyewear have been focused on protection from objects and projectiles. But, there’s also the sun’s ultraviolet rays which can damage your eyes and cause degeneration with too much direct exposure.
UV rated sunglasses are a great way to keep block these out and keep your eyes protected.
And yes, they do blunt the beautiful colors of your flowers a bit. But you can always take them off when you get under the shade to appreciate your lovely garden.
Proper Care and Use of Garden Tools
Many garden tools are designed to be sharp and powerful. You can’t change that otherwise the tools won’t be effective in doing their jobs.
But, what you can do is handle these tools properly and take care of them so they are in good working condition.
This prevents any sudden, unexpected situations that can lead to accidents.
Finally, there’s headgear.
This is something very handy here in Southern California since it can get very hot during certain parts of the year.
And, when you’re tending to the yard for at least 20 or more minutes at a time, you’ll quickly realize how hot it was outside once you come back in.
But, that’s not all. In addition to covering your head and keeping you cool, hats also block the sun’s rays from directly hitting your eyes.
I like to use a bucket hat or a straw hat because they have extra coverage all around. But, you can just as easily use a baseball cap which will help keep the sun out of your eyes.
Always Keep Your Eyes Protected
Gardening is a fun hobby and creative outlet. Unfortunately, it also comes with some dangers. One of these is to your eyes.
The best safety glasses and goggles make sure that your eyes are always protected when you’re working in your yard, or garden.