Child Eye Injury Protection and Safety

Every year, thousands of young children suffer eye injury. Approximately half of these occur at home or through sports. Some of these child eye injuries lead to serious eye damage or even blindness. Many child eye injuries seen in hospital emergency rooms could have been prevented with proper preparation and attention.

No matter how attentive you are as a parent, guardian or caregiver, it's impossible to supervise a child every second of the day. And because you can't wrap children in bubble-wrap, to reduce the risk of child eye injury you'll need to recognize and avoid potential eye hazards.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology over 40% percent of childhood eye injuries occur during sports or recreational activities.

  • For children 5 to 14 years, baseball is the number one cause of sports-related eye injuries.
  • Basketball is the most common cause of eye injury for 15 to 24 year-olds. Most of these injuries result from contact with fingers and elbows.

At home the most common causes of eye injuries to children include:

  • Accidents with sharp toys and objects such as forks, knives and pencils. Even a rubber band or a paperclip can be dangerous in the right circumstances.
  • Injury from harmful household chemicals and cleaners. Alkaline based cleaners such as dishwasher detergents are particularly dangerous.
  • Falls from furniture, down stairs or when playing with toys.
  • Yard accidents such as stones and debris thrown up by a lawn mower or a hammer.

There are many simple steps you can take to prevent most eye injuries.

  • Make sure children wear proper eye protection when playing sports. Eye protectors with polycarbonate safety lenses should be worn for active sports such as baseball, basketball and hockey.
  • At home or in the yard it's vital to keep cleaners and other harmful chemicals stored securely out of the reach of children.
  • Keep children away from areas where lawnmowers or other powered equipment is being used.
  • Make sure there are no sharp edges on benches or around play areas and keep all sharp or pointed objects and toys out of young hands.
  • Set a good example for children. Using protective eyewear yourself when working with tools and power equipment is an excellent way to teach children the value of eye safety.

If a child suffers an eye injury, seek medical help immediately even when there is no external evidence of damage.

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