The American Academy of Ophthalmology has designated December as Safe Toys and Celebrations Month. This designation is a timely reminder to consider eye health and safety as you go about holiday shopping this year!
Keep reading to learn why knowledge is key during Safe Toys and Celebrations Month!
Prevent Blindness, an organization dedicated to eye health and safety, estimates that there are at least 11,000 incidences of toy-related eye injuries in children in the United States alone. Some of these injuries even require emergency medical care.
Most of these eye injuries occur in children under the age of nine, and some are so serious that they result in permanent vision loss. Some of the most common pediatric eye injuries caused by toys are relatively mild, like black eyes or broken blood vessels in the eye, which is known as subconjunctival hemorrhages.
Though unsightly, these injuries usually resolve themselves in a short time. Other potential injuries are far more serious, including cuts or abrasions in the eye area or on the eyelid, rupture or punctures of the eyeball, and corneal hyphemia, which is a painful collection of blood inside the eye.
Corneal abrasions and retinal detachments are also common. These dangerous injuries are more likely to lead to permanent partial or complete vision loss.
The first step in preventing unnecessary eye injury this holiday season is to be aware of which toys, when misused, most often cause eye damage.
What Are the Most Common Toys that Cause Eye Injury?
The four types of toys most likely to cause eye injury are:
Even when these toys shoot soft foam projectiles or water balloons, they are, by far, the toys most likely to cause eye injuries. Often, these toys can shoot projectiles much farther than expected and with enough force to cause the most serious damage if they hit an eye.
Toys like play swords, bows and arrows, fishing poles, and light sabers all have pointed edges or ends that can inadvertently cause eye injuries if mishandled.
Aerosol Sprays or Novelty Toys
Model or craft kits may come with aerosol-type adhesives or paints that are highly dangerous if accidentally sprayed into the eyes, causing corneal burns or chemical conjunctivitis. Novelty aerosol toys, like silly string, often contain chemicals that can also cause vision-damaging burns or infections.
While a popular gift for a favorite feline, laser pointers can cause temporary vision loss or burn the retina if shined directly into a person’s eye. The eye damage caused by misused laser pointers can be permanent if severe enough.
Tips to Prevent Eye Injuries
You can prevent accidental eye injuries caused by holiday toys and gifts from putting an end to festive fun by following some commonsense safety rules:
Follow the Manufacturer’s Age Recommendations
Always follow the manufacturer’s age recommendations. A toy safely recommended for ages ten and up could be highly dangerous to a younger child.
Inspect toys and gifts for sharp points and edges to determine their suitability for use by the gift recipient
Use Protective Eyewear
Require that protective eyewear is worn when using projectile-shooting toys or sports equipment.
At Shepherd Eye Center, our eye care professionals want you and your loved ones to have a happy and eye-healthy holiday season! We encourage you to be aware of the potential for serious eye injuries that can be caused by certain toys and gifts and to follow basic preventive safety measures as you celebrate this special time of the year!
Do you want to learn more about how you can ensure eye safety during safe toys and celebrations month? Schedule an appointment at Shepherd Eye Center at one of our 5 locations in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, today!