Home improvement do-it-yourselfers need one piece of equipment whether their projects involve replumbing the bathroom, installing wall-to-wall carpeting or sanding doors: safety glasses.

According to the American Optometric Association, many home improvement projects expose the eyes to flying particles and caustic chemicals, and culprits include sawdust, tacks, staples, metal and wood fragments, nails, paint, varnish, turpentine and solvents.

Yet some people never think about donning safety eyewear, mistakenly believing their regular prescription glases or contact lenses will protect them, says the association.

By federal regulation, eyeglasses prescribed today are impact-resistant but they are not safety glasses and they are no match for pieces of wood, metal or rock thrown by power tools.

Contact lenses are made for seeing, not protection, notes the association adding that non-prescription safety eyewear should be worn over them just as it should over the naked eye.

Hardware stores usually carry inexpensive plastic safety goggles (including types that fit over glasses), face shields and sometimes even welding goggles and shields.

The optometrists group advises home fixer-uppers to make sure the safety goggles meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 standards by looking for a "Z87" marked on the fronts and temples of the eyewear.

It also suggests all do-it-yourselfers, like all adults, have annual eye examinations because undetected vision problems may be the cause of smashed thumbs, uneven wallpaper, measuring mistakes or misread instructions.