The holiday shopping season is in full swing, with most shopping activity online this year. We want to empower our patients with information that includes a few safety guidelines when choosing the perfect gifts for the little ones in your life. Several recent studies have shown that some popular toy types are commonly associated with childhood eye injuries. These include air guns and other toys that shoot projectiles, high-powered lasers, and sports equipment.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has five tips for gifting toys to children this holiday season.
1. Beware of airsoft, BB guns, and other projectile toys. Every year ophthalmologists treat thousands of patients with devastating eye injuries caused by seemingly safe toys. Avoid items with sharp, protruding, or projectile parts such as airsoft guns, BB guns, and other non-powder guns–related foreign objects can easily propel into the eye’s sensitive tissue.
2. Never allow children to play with high-powered laser pointers. Some recent reports in the United States show that children have sustained serious eye injuries by playing with high-powered lasers (between 1500 and 6000 milliwatts). Over the years, these lasers have become increasingly more powerful, with enough potential to cause severe retinal damage, with just seconds of laser exposure to the eye. The FDA advises the public to never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone and not buy laser pointers for children.
3. Read labels for age recommendations before you buy. To select appropriate gifts suited for a child’s age, look for and follow the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use, and supervision.
4. Don’t just give presents. Make sure to be present. Always make sure an adult is supervising when children are playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
5. Know what to do (and what not to). If someone experiences an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from your eye doctor. As you wait for medical help, make sure never to touch, rub, apply pressure, or try to remove an object stuck in the eye. If an eye injury occurs, follow these important care and treatment guidelines.
Following these tips can help make sure our little loved ones have a healthy vision for many holiday seasons to come. We are sure everyone can still remember the memorable Ralphie’s eye accident from the movie, “A Christmas Story,” and his mother saying those unforgettable words, “You’ll shoot your eye out”! A holiday memory that we would like to see only in the movies and not in real life for our little ones.
The joy of holiday gift-giving and the celebratory spirit, shop and play with an EYE on SAFETY.