Follow These Tips to Avoid Toy-Related Eye Injuries

Advanced Eyecare Professionals and the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges the public to celebrate with an eye on safety

With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, Advanced Eyecare Professionals (AEP) joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding the public of certain safety guidelines when choosing the perfect gifts for little ones. A number of studies show that some popular types of toys are commonly associated with childhood eye injuries. These include air guns and other toys that shoot projectiles, high-powered lasers, and sports equipment.

Ophthalmologists – physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care – treat the eye injuries that sometimes result from these products, and so have seen the traumatic results of what can happen. The Academy encourages parents to follow these tips when shopping for toys this holiday season.

“Air soft, BB, and paint gun pellets are common sources of sometimes serious eye injury. Please wear eye protection when playing with these projectiles,” says ophthalmologist David Harrell, M.D.

Beware of airsoft, BB guns, and other projectile toys. Every year ophthalmologists treat thousands of patients with devastating eye injuries caused by seemingly safe toys. Avoid items with sharp, protruding or projectile parts such as airsoft guns, BB guns and other nonpowder gun–related toys. Foreign objects can easily propel into the sensitive tissue of the eye.

Never allow children to play with high-powered laser pointers. A number of recent reports in the United States and internationally show that children have sustained serious eye injuries by playing with high-powered lasers (between 1,500 and 6,000 milliwatts). Over the years, these lasers have become increasingly more powerful, with enough potential to cause severe retinal damage, with just seconds of laser exposure to the eye. The FDA advises the public to never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone and to not buy laser pointers for children.

Read labels for age recommendations before you buy. To select appropriate gifts suited for a child’s age, look for and follow the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use, and supervision.

Don’t just give presents. Make sure to be present. Always make sure an adult is supervising when children are playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.

Know what to do (and what not to). If someone you know experiences an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. As you wait for medical help, make sure to never touch, rub, apply pressure, or try to remove any object stuck in the eye. If an eye injury occurs, follow the important care and treatment guidelines given by your ophthalmologist.

“In the frenzied excitement of celebrations and toys it’s easy to become lax on your normal standards for safety,” says ophthalmologist Michael Flohr, M.D. “We want everyone to have healthy vision for future holiday seasons to come. Please stay vigilant, and protect yours and your loved ones eyes.”

For more information on toy safety in regards to the eyes please call our office, and/or visit the Academy’s EyeSmart® website www.aao.org/eye-health.

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