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Avoiding Holiday Hazards: A Parent's Guide to Eye-Safe Gifts

by Damion Wasylow 4 December 2023 19:39 PM

smiling kids with christmas presents

The holidays are a joyful time for families, and gift-giving is part of the fun. However, when you’re checking off your gift list this year, it’s important to keep eye safety in mind.

Each year, more than 225,000 toy-related eye injuries occur in the U.S. Being mindful of the gifts you purchase can help you avoid hazards and enjoy an accident-free holiday with the kids.

Common Toy-Related Eye Injuries

Toy-related eye injuries can be mild, serious or even sight-threatening. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Punctures
  • Bruising
  • Corneal abrasions (eye scratches)
  • Retinal detachment
  • Burns
  • Acute hyphema (blood pooling in the eye)
  • Traumatic cataracts

It’s important to seek medical attention immediately if your child suffers an eye injury. If left untreated, your child’s eyesight and eye health could be in greater jeopardy.

Toys to Avoid

When it comes to eye safety, some toys are more dangerous than others. The majority of eye injuries are caused by:

  • Toy guns or other projectiles: Today’s toy guns can shoot projectiles up to 100 feet away, often at rapid speeds. Impact with the eyes can cause serious injuries.
  • Aerosol sprays or streamers: The chemicals in these sprays can cause conjunctivitis, eye infections and burns.
  • Toys with sharp or pointed ends: Even brief contact with the sharp or pointed end of a toy can cause serious eye injuries, including eyeball lacerations.
  • Laser pointers: If pointed toward the eyes, the light intensity of laser pointers can cause temporary or even permanent vision loss.

If your child does receive one of these types of toys as a gift, you can still take steps to protect their eyes.

3 Tips for Toy Eye Safety

1. Make sure children wear eye protection when playing with toys that shoot projectiles or have pointed ends. Protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses can help safeguard their eyes during playtime.

2. Check to make sure any laser pointers comply with applicable FDA regulations that limit the strength and wavelength of consumer laser devices. These are less likely to cause eye damage with short-term exposure.

3. Always supervise kids whenever they play with toys that have a high risk of eye injuries.

One last important tip: Make sure that all of your child’s toys are age-appropriate. Keep toys for older children away from younger children.

What are Some Safe Holiday Gift Ideas?

Fortunately, there are many great gift ideas for kids that have a much lower risk of causing eye injuries.

While tablets and screens fall into this category, it’s important to limit screen time and encourage breaks to prevent eye strain. 

Here are some other eye-safe gift ideas:

  • Educational games: Age-appropriate board games are fun, interesting and promote cognitive growth. 
  • Art supplies: Coloring books and paint sets are safe choices for kids of all ages. Older children may be interested in crafting kits, like jewelry-making.
  • Card games: These games make great gifts for older children and can even be an effective way to reduce screen time.

What if My Child Does Suffer an Eye Injury?

Even if you take all of the appropriate safety precautions, accidents can still happen. If your child does experience an eye injury from a toy, or from any other cause, seek medical attention immediately.

For acute injuries, such as those that produce blood in the eye, loss of vision, blurred vision, double vision, difficulty opening or closing one or both eyes or other critical eye traumas or vision challenges, an emergency room visit is advisable. If you are able to see a local ophthalmologist, either immediately or as a follow-up to an emergency room visit, they will likely be able to provide a more in-depth diagnosis and treatment plan.

For your family’s vision needs, during the holidays and all year long, trust the physicians and staff of North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. To schedule an appointment, contact us today at 352-373-4300.



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