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Self-Care

Here’s How to Prevent Holiday Eye Injuries

The Holiday season unfortunately, is a time for eye injuries from unsafe toys and other holiday-related activities. That's why the American Academy of Ophthalmology is promoting Safe Toys and Celebrations Month this month.

Toys for Girls and Boys

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 210,000 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2005. About 6,000 of those were injuries to the eyes of children under age 15.

Children receive all sorts of potentially unsafe presents during the holidays, including BB guns, darts and sports equipment.

"While it can be difficult to resist a child's pleading for certain toys, sometimes you must for their safety," said Dr. Andrew Iwach, Academy spokesperson. "Every year ophthalmologists treat the devastating injuries that seemingly safe toys can cause."

Dr. Iwach said parents should check toy labels for age recommendations and select gifts that are appropriate for a child's age and maturity.

"Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts," he said. "It is essential to make sure children have appropriate supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause injury."

Be a Good Sport

Sports-related eye injuries are common and can cause permanent vision loss, accounting for about 40,000 eye injuries annually.

Without proper eye protection, participating in sports such as basketball, soccer, baseball, football and hockey (as well as water and racquet sports), can lead to serious eye injuries.

"If you plan to give sports equipment, include the appropriate protective gear, such as helmets, facemasks or goggles with polycarbonate lenses" Dr. Iwach said. "Your Eye M.D. can recommend protective eyewear appropriate for each sport."

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Christmas trees are festive and for millions of Americans embody the spirit of the holidays. However, there are hidden dangers amongst the twinkling lights, fragrant branches and presents.

"Branches and needles can be hazardous to the eyes, so be especially careful when untying your tree," said Dr. Iwach. "The branches can burst forward, hitting and injuring your eyes. Glass ornaments should be hung out of a child's reach to avoid potential injury."

For more information visit www.aao.org.


© 2006 Health Resources Publishing