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Five Tips to Avoid Toy-Related Eye Injuries

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December 5, 2017

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, it's important to remember safety guidelines when choosing gifts for the loved ones in your lives.

December is Safe Toys and Celebrations Month

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a number of recent studies have shown that some popular toy types are commonly associated with childhood eye injuries. These include air guns other toys that shoot projectiles, high-powered lasers, and sports equipment.

"The most important thing in considering children's gifts and eye safety is parental supervision," says Dr. Linda Lehman, an ophthalmologist at McFarland Eye Center. "Children can have active imaginations, and a toy that seems safe can turn into a weapon or projectile which can cause harm."

Safety Tips for Preventing and Treating Eye Injuries from Toys

Parents and loved ones are encouraged to follow these tips when gifting toys to children this holiday season:

1. Don't Just Give Presents–Be Present

Always make sure an adult is supervising when children are playing with potentially dangerous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.

2. 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 nonpowder gun-related toys. Foreign objects can easily propel into the sensitive tissue of the eye.

3. Never Allow Children to Play with High-Powered Laser Pointers

A number of recent reports have shown 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 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 to buy laser pointers for children.

4. Read Labels for Age Recommendations Before You Buy

Select appropriate gifts for a child's age by looking for and following the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use and supervision.

5. Know What to Do (and What Not to Do)

If someone you know experiences an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. Call your nearest McFarland Eye Center to schedule an appointment. In some cases it may be necessary to go to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room. As you wait for medical help, make sure to never 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.

More Information

For more on toy safety as it relates to your eyes, see the resources below or call a McFarland Eye Center near you.

American Academy of Ophthalmology: Toy Safety Page
American Academy of Ophthalmology: Toy Safety Video

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