Working Healthy

Wearing Contacts in the Salon

With filing dust, clippings, aerosol sprays, chemicals, and vapors making their way around the salon environment, wearing contact lenses while working can be potentially hazardous.

In terms of eye safety, the most dangerous parts of nail service for nail professionals are those that involve cleaning and disinfection, mixing and pouring of liquids, and improperly sealed or stored containers, says Schoon. The most dangerous substances are primers, adhesives, and disinfectants.

To protect yourself, he suggests using safety glasses, some of which can still be stylish. “Eye protection is important, but it doesn’t have to be safety goggles,” says Schoon. “There are wraparound-style safety glasses with sufficient splash protection for salon work, but they should be designed for this purpose.”

Eye doctors also recommend disposable (one-day-wear) or frequent replacement contact lenses. Since these lenses are replaced often, there is less time for substances such as protein, calcium, and lipids to build up in your lenses. The more frequently you replace your lenses, the healthier and more comfortable your eyes can be.

Eye doctors often recommend one-day-wear disposal lenses to keep eyes healthier.
<p>Eye doctors often recommend one-day-wear disposal lenses to keep eyes healthier.</p>


Dr. Lincoln L. Manzi Jr., an eye specialist in Fountain Valley, Calif., urges immediate and plentiful irrigation of the eye if you do get something in it. To irrigate the eye properly, first remove the lens, then rinse the lens and wash out the eye with plenty of sterile irrigating solution, such as sterile eyewash or a commercial sterile saline solution.

Look carefully in a mirror to see that everything is out of the eye. Inspect the eyelid, too, then inspect the lenses for damage. Keep eyewash on hand, even if no salon employees wear contact lenses.

Many of the problems contact lens wearers encounter in the salon can be tied to inadequate ventilation. Though there are far more ventilation systems available for sale today than 10 years ago, Schoon says proper ventilation hasn’t improved much over the years. “All nail professionals should work with proper ventilation. It’s mandatory in my opinion,” he says.

For now, technicians and salon owners must evaluate the level of risk that is acceptable to them and improve working conditions. Be aware of the proper way to care for your lenses and your eyes because, as Cornell’s Brown notes, “The eyes are more easily damaged than the rest of our skin and a lot harder to replace.”


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