It is important to be aware of the common eye injuries that can occur in the home as well as during a child’s playtime. Teach children how they can protect their eyes when they play sports or participate in arts and crafts.
Each year thousands of children sustain eye damage or even blindness from sports and accidents at home or in the car.
4 Common Eye Injuries
Radiation Eye Injury
Radiation injury caused by exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. These injuries are most common in sports such as snow skiing, water skiing and other water sports.
A black eye or bruising of the eye and eyelid can look serious but often is a minor injury. However, a black eye may also be the result of a more serious eye injury or head trauma.
Some serious examples are fracture of the eye socket which can include an orbital blowout fracture (the bone under the eyeball), a ruptured globe (eyeball), and swollen or detached retinas (the part of the eye that is sensitive to light and helps you see).
Corneal abrasions happen when something like sand or dirt gets into the eyes. This can also cause inflammation of the iris. Though corneal abrasions can be painful, they usually are not serious.
How to Prevent Child Eye Injuries
Since more than 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented, investing in an ounce of prevention is worth it.
The Mayo Clinic offers a few ways to prevent injury to your child’s eyes:
In the Kitchen
- Use grease shields to prevent splattering of hot grease or oil (protects your eyes too).
- Keep small kids out of the kitchen while cooking.
- When cleaning, don't mix products. Keep all chemicals and sprays out of children’s reach.
- Store sharp kitchen tools and utensils in child-proofed or locked drawers.
In the Yard
- Keep children away from flying debris. Make sure young children stay out of the yard while operating a lawnmower or wood chipper.
- Store hazardous substances such as fertilizers, pesticides and pool chemicals out of reach.
- Do not use dangerous or banned fireworks since fireworks pose a serious risk of eye injury.
Around the Home
- Secure rugs and railings.
- Eliminate hazards that may cause falls.
- Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs for the safety of small children.
- Cover sharp furniture edges and corners with a cushion material.
- Keep all cabinets and drawers within reach locked.
In Your Vehicle
- Use a car seat and make sure your child is properly secured.
- Don't allow a child age 12 or younger to ride in the front seat.
- Put loose objects in your trunk or secure them to the floor of your vehicle because a loose object can become a dangerous projectile in a sudden stop or crash.
- Don't allow your child to play with non-powder rifles such as pellet guns or BB guns.
- Avoid darts, bows and arrows, missile-firing toys, and other projectile toys.
- Don't allow your children to play with laser pointers. Laser pointers with short wavelengths such as green laser pointers can permanently damage the retina and cause visual loss even before your child has a chance to blink.
- Choose toys marked with ASTM, meaning the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Sports gets its own category since sports-related injuries are the most common in children. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), most injuries occurring in school-aged children are sports-related.
The NEI also states that baseball is the sport responsible for the greatest number of eye injuries in children aged 14 and younger. Basketball accounts for the highest number of eye injuries for kids ages 15- 24.
- Wear protective eyewear during sports. Any sport featuring a ball, puck, stick, bat, racket, or flying object, is a potential risk of eye injury. Polycarbonate lenses must be used with protectors that meet or exceed the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
- For outdoor sports, look for eye protection that blocks harmful UV rays.
- Never wear regular eyeglasses while playing sports as they may shatter upon impact.
Often, serious eye injury in children is not immediately noticeable. Even if the injury seems minor, do not delay seeking medical care because the damaged eye(s) may worsen and could result in permanent vision loss or blindness. To learn more, visit us online. Make an appointment at VisionQuest Eyecare today.