Site icon ProVideo Coalition

PSA: Mowing the lawn? Wear Glasses!

PSA: Mowing the lawn? Wear Glasses! 3

Every January I look back on the previous year, and think about whether anything noteworthy happened that might be worth writing about.  Last January I wrote about upgrading my home office with a NAS, but this year it’s something a bit less technical.

Without a doubt, the most significant thing that happened to me in 2023 was nearly losing an eye.  Luckily I didn’t, but it was something that a cheap pair of safety glasses – or even sunglasses – could have easily prevented.

This could be me! (It isn’t)

So this year, my first post is a simple PSA: wear safety glasses when mowing the lawn.

Mowing the lawn can be a mundane task, it’s a perfect symbol of suburban life.  Obviously housing styles vary all around the world, and cities have apartments, townhouses and other types of high and medium density housing.  But in many parts of the world, once you get to the suburbs the houses and yards get bigger.  There’s usually a patch of grass out the back, or front, or both.  And it just keeps growing.

A quick calculation suggests I’ve mown the lawn several hundred times over the course of my life, and I’ve never thought about it as a dangerous task, or even something slightly risky.  I’ve even popped out the back and quickly mown the lawn while waiting for renders.  It’s not exactly in the same league as skydiving.

Last August I was mowing our back yard and the mower flicked a small stone up into my right eye.  This has never happened before, and can only be considered an unfortunate fluke.  The small stone, just a piece of gravel, packed a lot of energy and the impact alone was painful enough that I wasn’t sure exactly where I’d been hit.  Initially I couldn’t even open my eye at all.

The short version is that I initially lost all sight in my right eye.  I went to my local hospital, before being transferred to a larger hospital with a specialist eye clinic.  I had multiple tests including an ultrasound and a CT scan. I’m not sure if I was reading the image correctly, but I think my eyes were pointing in different directions, like Homer Simpson.

Luckily I didn’t need any surgery, and following an exhaustive regime of medication, my eye sight began to return the following day.  For several weeks everything looked light and blurry, as though I was viewing the world through a piece of cling film (or a heavy promist filter, for the DOPs out there).  By the time the scratch on my cornea healed, my eyesight had returned to mostly normal.

My eye is permanently damaged, but only mildly.  When measured with a basic eye chart, it’s slightly worse than my 20/20 left eye.  I don’t notice this indoors or while working, but the iris muscle is permanently damaged, so my iris’s will always be different sizes and I need to wear sunglasses outside.

The real point is that all of this could have been avoided with a pair of cheap safety glasses, it’s just that I’ve never considered mowing the lawn to be unsafe.

Because I like a bit of DIY, and I’m inherently clumsy, I already owned several pairs of safety glasses and goggles. I’ve always been vigilant about wearing goggles when using power tools, and when I’m using an angle grinder (something I find generally terrifying) I wear safety goggles AND a full face mask.  I even wear goggles when using a line trimmer, something I do almost as much as mowing, and I’m always impressed at how a line trimmer can cover me in dirt from head to toe.

But mowing the lawn? Meh.

In the months since my accident, I’ve talked about it with all sorts of friends and colleagues.  And none of them – not one – has said they wear safety glasses when mowing.

It was an unlikely, unlucky fluke to be hit in the eye by a small stone while mowing the lawn.  But if things had been slightly different – a larger stone, or a few mm to the left – I could have been even more unlucky.  I’m still surprised that my eyesight recovered so well, and having to wear sunglasses is a much better outcome than wearing an eye-patch.

The prospect of blindness is terrifying for everyone, but perhaps more so for visual artists.  I don’t really dwell on what could have been, or what I would have done if I was no longer able to work professionally.  I was lucky (ish), but a cheap pair of glasses would have taken luck out of the equation.

If you have a back yard or a front yard that needs mowing, and you’re looking for a New Years resolution – then look no further.

Safety glasses are cheap and there are many styles available that don’t make you look like a mad scientist.  Google suggests the cheapest pairs are less than $2, but even more stylish options are less than the price of a good lunch.

Do yourself a favor.

Wearing eye protection doesn’t mean you have to go to a science lab and look like one of the Slo-Mo Guys. There’s plenty of stylish options that look like regular glasses, such as the ones I found on the Globus website. Many of them cost less than $20.
Exit mobile version