Eye Sight : Children's Eye Injuries: Tips for Prevention

During this time of year, many kids are gearing up to go back to school and return to sports and other activities. Every year thousands of children sustain eye damage from accidents at home, at play, or in the car. Sports deserve particular attention because eye injuries occur fairly often in children and young adult athletes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers the following tips for preventing eye injuries:
  • Children should wear sports eye protectors made with polycarbonate lenses for baseball, football, racquet sports, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, and paintball.
  • Keep all chemicals and sprays out of reach of small children.
  • Parents and caregivers need to practice safe use of common items that can cause serious eye injury, such as paper clips, pencils, scissors, bungee cords, wire coat hangers, and rubber bands.
  • Teach your children to be eye smart by safeguarding your own sight with protective eyewear during potentially dangerous yard work and household projects.
  • Avoid projectile toys such as darts, bows and arrows, and missile-firing toys and look for toys marked with “ATSM,” which means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. Pad or cushion sharp corners. Put locks on all cabinets and drawers that kids can reach.
  • On the road, make sure kids are properly secured in baby carriers and child safety seats and that the seat and shoulder belts fit well. Store loose items in the trunk or secured on the floor, as any loose object can become a dangerous projectile in a crash.
Even if an eye injury seems minor, a doctor, preferably an ophthalmologist, should examine the eye as soon as possible since a serious injury isn't always immediately obvious. Delaying medical attention could make the damage worse or even result in vision loss.

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