Among words like “joyful,” “magical” and “heartwarming” used to describe a young family’s Christmas morning, there may be one other appropriate description— “pandemonium.” As the whirlwind of wrapping paper shredding and delighted squeals subsides, it’s altogether tempting to shoo the kids out to play with their new toys while the adults recuperate with a cup of coffee.
But depending on the type of toy, you may want to take a moment to make sure they know how to play with it safely. Certain toys, even some that might surprise you, can cause eye injuries.
“Any toy that propels a projectile or has moving parts that can operate with a modicum of force could cause an eye injury,” says Hattiesburg Eye Clinic’s Anna Armstrong, OD. “It’s important that kids are being smart and aware while using these kinds of toys.”
Dr. Armstrong says eye injuries often occur from the usual suspects—nonpowder guns like BB, pellet or paintball guns. But she also includes a toy many parents might overlook as potentially hazardous.
“A couple of years ago, I saw a young patient who had been hit in the eye by a foam dart from a fairly popular type of toy gun,” says Dr. Armstrong. “Even what you might consider a harmless projectile might hit the eye with enough blunt force to cause an injury.”
Dr. Armstrong says such toy-related eye injuries can include inflammation and/or bleeding in the front chamber of the eye (between the cornea and the iris) or even retinal damage. Some injuries can be severe enough to cause decreased vision or even blindness.
To help your child avoid an eye-related injury, be sure any toy they receive is appropriate for their age. You should also make sure a child is well-informed and skilled in the operation of any toy before allowing them to play with it on their own.
Dr. Armstrong also advises enforcing a number of safety rules during play with toys that could potentially cause harm:
- Don’t point or aim a toy at another person (including yourself) that shoots projectiles.
- Stay behind any toy that shoots or may have moving parts that operate with force.
- Wear safety goggles or similar protective eyewear when operating nonpowder guns.
- When practicing with nonpowder guns, use paper or gel targets that have a backstop to trap BBs or pellets.
Above all, be sure your children have appropriate supervision when playing. If an eye injury does occur, don’t touch, rub, put pressure or attempt to remove an object lodged in the eye, but instead see an eye doctor immediately.
The holidays are an enjoyable time that brings families together. Don’t let a toy-related eye injury ruin the memory of those good times.
For more information about eye safety and protection, visit our webpage. To learn more about how Hattiesburg Eye Clinic can improve your vision health, call 601-268-5910 (or toll-free 800-624-8254) or schedule a consultation with us.