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  • Writer's pictureVisions Optometry

Toys & Toddlers: Eye Safety

‘Tis the season for tons of toys arriving in wrapping from family, friends and Santa. While toys are all fun and games and can help stimulate a child’s vision, their eyes can be easily hurt by toys. Prevent Blindness, an organization formed over a century ago, posted in 2019 that nearly 184,000 children under the age of 15 had been sent to an emergency room due to toy-related injuries. While eye health is always something to look out for, it is especially important during the holiday season when new toys and trinkets come a child’s way.

Determining Toy Safety

First and foremost, don’t just give presents, be present! On top of all the tips we will give to help determine toy safety, one of the most important tips is to have an eye on your little one while they have their hands on any type of toy. Additionally:

  • Check packaging labels for age recommendations and only purchase age-appropriate toys. Has someone else gifted them without taking a peek? Still say thanks and save the gift for later!

  • Look for toys marked with “ASTM”. This marking stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials, meaning the toy meets national safety standards.

  • Determine if protective eyewear is necessary, especially with older children and sports equipment.

  • Play with it yourself first! Make sure the toy is unbreakable and does not have sharp ends, or small pieces that are not securely attached.

Handling an Eye Injury

When an eye injury happens, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take while you’re seeking medical assistance. You are not alone! Here are some tips provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology when it comes to caring for children’s eye injuries:

  • Avoiding flushing with water might be a surprise, but unless the eye has been exposed to a chemical, avoid rinsing with any fluids.

  • In the beginning, applying pressure to the eye might give a bit of relief, but should be avoided along with any eye rubbing. However, if there is a clear cut or puncture to the eye, it is recommended to gently cover the wound.

  • Do not try to remove any small debris or objects stuck in the eye. Try, instead, to have your child blink rapidly with their eye lid lifted. This movement is likely to bring about tears that may flush out any particles.

  • Most importantly, seek treatment! Especially if the injury appears to worsen over time.

While eyes are relatively durable parts of the body, they are still vulnerable to injuries caused by toys. While some injuries are meager; others are major and may lead to severe optical trauma and even blindness. Remember to keep an eye out as children frolic and play!

Our team at Visions Optometry hopes that you have a wonderful holiday season! Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

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