Eye Safety Tips To Give Your Patients This Holiday Season
Prevent Blindness America has designated December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. As your patients are gift shopping this holiday season, encourage them to follow safe toy selection guidelines. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 73 percent of toy-related injuries in the emergency department occur in children younger than 15. The majority of these injuries are localized to the head and face. Common toy-related eye injuries include:
- Corneal abrasions
- Eyelid lacerations
- Chemical burns
- Raised intraocular pressure
- Traumatic cataracts
- Retinal detachments
- Orbital fractures
Toy Safety Guidelines
Here are some tips your patients can follow when giving toys to children:
- Check toy labels to ensure they are appropriate for the child’s age and maturity level. Pay special attention to this area when choosing a toy for a child with special needs.
- Read warnings and instructions on the toy packaging.
- Ensure children know how to handle toys safely.
- Supervise children when they are playing with toys.
- Select products that meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. This should be indicated on the toy’s packaging.
- When gifting sports equipment, make sure the child also has appropriate protective gear, such as a helmet or sports goggles.
- Do not let children play with broken toys.
- If possible, avoid toys with sharp edges or projectiles.
- Do not give toys with small parts to children younger than 3, as these can cause choking. If any part of the toy fits into a toilet paper roll, it is too small for a young child.
- Do not leave toys lying around where they may cause trips and falls.
Toys that pose a higher risk for eye injuries include:
- Toy guns that shoot any type of projectile, including foam darts. Even soft projectiles can seriously injure the eyes at a close range.
- Similarly, slingshots and water guns can also cause significant eye damage.
- Toy swords, wands, staves, fishing poles or similar objects with pointed ends.
- Aerosol string, artificial snow spray and other aerosolized products contain chemicals that can cause chemical conjunctivitis and corneal erosions.
- Children should not be allowed to use laser pointers as toys, as they can cause permanent damage to the retina. This includes cat toys.
Promote Pediatric Eye Health and Safety
It’s important for parents to make sure that their child receives a comprehensive pediatric eye exam early on in life. Vision screenings alone can miss conditions that have long-term effects if not detected early, such as strabismus and refractive amblyopia, or sight-threatening diseases like retinoblastomas.
The American Optometric Association recommendations are:
- Comprehensive baseline eye exam between the ages of 6 months and 12 months
- At least one comprehensive eye exam between the ages of 3 and 5 to check for conditions that have long-term effects
- Annual comprehensive eye exam starting before first grade
The team at R&D Optical Lab supports eye care practitioners in helping children maintain clear vision and optimal eye health. We offer a large selection of eyewear for your pediatric patients, including custom sports eyewear and SunShifters. For those with high refractive errors, we specialize in difficult prescriptions and custom frames. Please visit our website or call us at 513-273-4034 to learn more about our optical products. For more tips and our latest updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn!