Toy-related eye injuries are especially prevalent during the holidays, but many injuries are preventable if you follow safety precautions.
According to the eye health and safety organization, Prevent Blindness, American children incur an estimated 11,000 toy-related injuries each year. While a minor corneal abrasion may heal quickly, a retinal detachment or corneal ulcer from a toy injury can cause severe eye damage.
Here is a list of some of the types of toys that pose the greatest threat to your child’s vision and how you can keep your child safe when using them:
Baseball bats, tennis racquets and lacrosse sticks can cause blunt or penetrating injuries.
If you buy sports gear or equipment for your child, ensure that he or she is using proper eye protection and head protection. Always supervise your child outside during practice and play time, and do not allow sporting equipment indoors.
Light sabers, wands and swords can have sharp edges and cause eye trauma. Dart guns, paintball guns, BB guns and airsoft rifles launch objects that can cause lacerations, increased eye pressure, cataracts and vision loss.
Projectile toys are never safe, so avoid purchasing toy guns for children. If you buy any toy that could be used as a weapon, accompany the gift with proper eye protection and require that your child wear the safety glasses when using the toy.
Laser pointers seem harmless, but eye specialists warn against allowing children to use them. Staring at a laser beam directly or through a mirror can injure the retina and permanently limit central vision.
A flashlight is a safer alternative to a laser pointer and poses less risk to the eyes. Remind kids never to shine any type of light into the eyes.
December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month, so commit to purchasing safe, age-appropriate toys for your children this holiday season. If you have a question about the safety of a specific toy, call your ophthalmologist. It is also wise to schedule comprehensive eye exams for the whole family before the year ends. An eye exam with dilation is crucial for optimum eye health because it can detect refraction errors, focusing problems and degenerative eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma. Call your eye doctor today to make an appointment.