Dec. 4, 2012 With the holiday season upon us, children are busy making their wish lists and checking them twice. But, parents may need to check them yet again to ensure toy safety. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 250,000 toy-related injuries are treated in emergency rooms each year. Most of these injuries affect children under age 15, and almost half affect the head or face. In light of these dangers, the American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages parents to be EyeSmart about toys this holiday season.
Some toys, like airsoft guns, BB guns and paintball guns can be particularly hazardous, with the potential to propel foreign objects into the sensitive tissues of the eye. Common eye injuries from these toys include corneal abrasion, ocular hyphema, traumatic cataract, and increased intraocular pressure. These and other injuries sometimes require children to undergo eye surgery. In most cases, the victims of these toy-related injuries were not wearing protective eyewear.
The good news is that most eye injuries can easily be prevented. To keep children's eyes safe from injuries, the American Academy of Ophthalmology offers five EyeSmart toy-buying tips:
- Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
- Make sure children have appropriate supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
- Along with sports equipment, give children the appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. Check with your Eye M.D. to learn about protective gear recommended for your child's sport.
- Check labels for age recommendations and be sure to select gifts that are appropriate for a child's age and maturity.
- Keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.
"Many toys have the potential to cause eye injuries," said David G. Hunter, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric ophthalmologist and spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Being aware and thoughtful about what you are putting in your children's hands is the best preventative medicine. A good rule of thumb for parents is to choose toys that are appropriate for their child's age and abilities, as well as the parents' willingness to supervise use of the toy."
If your child experiences an eye injury from a toy, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist -- an eye physician and surgeon. For more information about keeping eyes healthy during the holidays and all year round, visit www.geteyesmart.org.
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