The protests over the last few weeks have posed danger to participants’ health, including their eyes. Protesters who take to the streets should take care of their eyes. They can do so by:
- Wear a surgical mask and social distance; COVID-19 is everywhere.
- Wear wraparound-style glasses with polycarbonate lenses, not glass or plastic. The protective glasses don’t necessarily need to meet military specifications, but they should be designed and built not to shatter.
- Wear full face protection that covers the eyes and mouth to avoid smoke, gas and other airborne irritants. Otherwise, goggles will help protect the eyes, but they shouldn’t be vented.
- Use lots of water. If the eyes are irritated by a gas or smoke, irrigation is the answer. Small amounts won’t help much, and rubbing the eyes can make things worse.
- Leave contact lenses at home. Soft lenses can absorb gases and other irritants like a sponge and should be cleaned with saline solution, rather than regular tap water. Contacts tend to be compromised.
- Leave the most intense hot-spots. When and if the situation on the streets escalates, just leave the area. That’s always the first and best way to mitigate any serious injury.
- Seek aid. People whose eyes are damaged or irritated by projectiles or gas or smoke should seek care immediately. The sooner you can get care, the better the possibility of a positive outcome.