The holiday shopping season is in full swing. It’s the perfect time of year to make holiday memories with family and friends that will last for a lifetime. In support of Safe Toys Month, we want to empower our patients with information that includes a few safety guidelines for choosing the perfect gifts for the little ones in your life. Recent studies have shown that some toy types are commonly associated with childhood eye injuries. These toy types include air guns and other toys that shoot projectiles, high-powered lasers, and sports equipment.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has a few tips for giving gifts of toys to children this holiday season.

  1. 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 non-powder guns–related foreign objects can quickly propel into the eye’s sensitive tissue.
  2. Never allow children to play with high-powered laser pointers. Recent reports in the United States show 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 more powerful, with enough potential to cause severe retinal damage with just seconds of laser exposure to the eye. The FDA advises the public never to aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone and not to buy laser pointers for children.
  3. Read labels for age recommendations before you buy. To select appropriate gifts suited for a child’s age, look for and follow the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use, and supervision.
  4. Don’t just give presents. Make sure to be present. Always ensure an adult supervises when children play with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
  5. Know what to do (and what not to). If someone experiences an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from your eye doctor. While waiting for medical help, make sure never to touch, rub, apply pressure, or try to remove an object stuck in the eye.

Following these tips can help ensure our little loved ones have a healthy vision for many holiday seasons to come. We are sure everyone can still remember the memorable Ralphie’s eye accident from the movie “A Christmas Story” and his mother saying those unforgettable words, “You’ll shoot your eye out”! It is a classic movie holiday memory that we want to see only on the TV screen and not in real life for our little ones.

With the joy of holiday gift-giving and the celebratory spirit, shop and play with an EYE on SAFETY.

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References: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Optometric Association, and the National Eye Institute. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.