How to Protect Your Eyes When Gardening

Gardening can be a therapeutic hobby and pastime. For a majority of Australians, climate change is also a contributing factor to the increased interest in gardening. A 2022 report from Greener Spaces Better Places revealed that 60% of Australians were concerned about climate change and the environment. In response, many are using plants to tackle the issue, as plant sales rose by 8%, amounting to 2.4 billion plants sold across the country that year.

For many others, gardening can be a productive hobby for acquiring homegrown ingredients. We highlighted this in a previous post, where we discussed gardening as a form of mindfulness and cultivating a greater appreciation for fresh and whole produce. Aside from being able to beautify your garden, balcony, or windows, gardening is also a great way to access your very own supply of kitchen ingredients, like kale, rocket, or spinach for green smoothies and mint for mint tea or homemade pilaf.

However, aside from celebrating the benefits of gardening, it's also important to acknowledge potential hazards associated with the activity. After all, gardening exposes you to various outdoor elements, including the sun and dirt or debris from the soil. These elements can damage or harm your eyes if they are unprotected. So, whether you're a new gardener or a long-time green thumb, it's important not to overlook eye protection when gardening.

Eye hazards in the garden

One of the ocular hazards you may be exposing yourself to when gardening is the risk of getting foreign bodies in the eyes. You may be at risk of eye injuries caused by gardening or motorised tools, as well as other foreign materials like soil, dirt, branches, and chemicals from gardening essentials like pesticides or fertilisers.

This can, in turn, cause infection or scarring, as well as corneal scratches or abrasions. If foreign bodies get stuck in your eye, it's important to go straight to your doctor, optometrist, or the nearest emergency department for help.

As mentioned in our introduction, other outdoor elements can also put your eye health at risk. Long-term exposure to the sun, for example, can harm your vision and cause discomfort or pain. As such, investing in some level of eye protection while gardening is essential. Below are some factors to consider when seeking eye protection for gardening:

Wear sunglasses for UV protection

Ultraviolet protection is crucial for your eyes when you're spending hours in your garden. Fortunately, you don't have to overinvest in fancy eyewear for high-quality UV protection. Nowadays, many lifestyle sunglasses offer UV-protective lens coatings and oversized lenses to avoid obstructing your view. Larger lenses also ensure more optimal areas of protection for your eyes and your face.

Brands like Oakley, for example, has the Oakley Sutro, which is part of the brand's lifestyle shield collection and boasts large, visor-like lenses. These offer high protection against sun glare and UV light, and covers a greater portion of the face. This makes the model perfect for long gardening sessions, even on the hottest summer days.

Wear goggles for impact resistance

If you've got adequate shade from the sun at your garden, then you may not need sunglasses. However, aside from sun protection, wearing shades can help protect your eyes from the wind, dust, and other gardening-related debris. If you don't want or own any sunglasses, protective goggles can help.

When looking for goggles, look for ones with side and top shields and try them on to check for their weight. While you want your eyes protected, it also helps to be comfortable when working in your garden. Goggles that are too heavy or bulky can get in the way, so be sure to fit them and decide accordingly.

Consider anti-fog lenses

Finally, you should also consider wearing anti-fog eyewear when gardening. Being outside and under the sun, it's natural to sweat when repotting plants or watering them. Fogging occurs more frequently in high-humidity conditions and can be distracting during your gardening session.

While many anti-fog eyewear comes with anti-fog lenses, you can also opt for anti-fog spray, which can last up to five days. This is a budget-friendly option compared to spending on expensive eyeglasses, lenses, or safety goggles. If you're located somewhere hot and humid, investing in anti-fog eyewear can help ensure comfort while gardening.

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