A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

5 Tips to Protect Children’s Vision this Holiday Season

by Damion Wasylow 2 December 2019 06:31 AM

brother and sister opening christmas presents
It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays, with decorations adorning windows, calendars packed with festivities and parents purchasing coveted gifts for eager children. Sometimes, lost in the celebratory mayhem, however, is a focus on ensuring the holiday season is both happy and safe for children. That’s why Prevent Blindness America declared December as Safe Toys and Celebrations Month. With a little bit of planning and a few wise choices, you can avoid potential eye risks and create joyful holiday memories for everyone. 

1. Prioritize Projectile Gift Safety

Nerf guns are high on many kids’ gift lists this year, but they can be extremely dangerous. While the darts are primarily constructed of squishy Nerf material, the tips are sometimes solid, hard plastic. Even the less rigid tips can cause serious injury if your child is struck in the eye. Other projectile gifts like pellet guns and slingshots are even more dangerous. And it should go without saying that firearms take danger to a whole other level for children. If you choose to give your children these types of gifts, be sure to talk with them extensively about safety, equip them with eye protection and supervise their use.

2. Avoid Toys with Sharp Edges

Some seemingly safe toys have surprisingly sharp edges. As children run and play and toss and collide, it’s possible those edges could make damaging contact with a child’s eye. Some toys start off with nice, smooth, oblique edges, but chip or lose parts over time exposing serrated sections and acute points that make them unsafe. You can’t possibly foresee all these potential hazards, but it’s wise to avoid the obvious ones and then do a visual check of your kids’ toys regularly to see if age and use have made them more dangerous. 

3. Remember Protective Eyewear for Sports Equipment

Safety glasses, goggles, shields and the like can go a long way towards protecting your child’s eyes from injury when they participate in sports activities. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that more than 90 percent of children’s eye injuries could be prevented through the use of suitable protective eyewear. If you purchase any sort of sports equipment for your child this holiday season, follow it up with a second gift of protective eyewear. 

4. Handle Decorations with Care

Holiday decorations may not be something you typically associate with vision risk, but especially if you have small children, decoration-related accidents can and do happen. Traditional Christmas tree ornament hooks, for example, can cause serious eye injuries. (They’re also dangerous for pets.) Several companies produce safer alternatives. When decorating, it’s also a good idea to place glass and breakable ornaments safely out of reach. When those shatter, they send dangerous shards flying through the air.

5. Be Responsible with Fireworks

Hundreds of people suffer fireworks-related eye injuries each year, including ruptured eyeballs and damaged corneas and retinas. Sadly, many of the injured are children. In some instances, injuries result from children playing with fireworks themselves, but in many others, these injuries are caused by an adult igniting fireworks irresponsibly. If you’re going to celebrate the holidays with fireworks, please do so responsibly. Have your children wear eye protection and keep them a substantial distance from where they fireworks are being lit. Better yet, leave fireworks to the professionals and just sit back and enjoy the show with your family.

At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, we have the expertise to treat a variety of eye injuries, but we prefer to help keep your eyes – and your children’s – healthy from the start. If we can serve you this holiday season or into the new year, please contact us at 352-373-4300. 

Happy holidays.



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