The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and while we are focused on the latest toy fads, it’s important to steer clear of hazardous items that can harm your child’s eyes. Toys that look fun can pose a serious risk of eye injuries, including permanent vision loss.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 251,800 children were admitted to hospitals in 2018 for toy-related injuries. 43% of those injuries were to the eyes, and 34% happened to children younger than five.
As innocent as they seem on the surface, toys can cause serious eye injuries, including minor scratches to the surface of the eye (corneal abrasion) and sight-threatening injuries, such as corneal ulcers, traumatic cataracts, and retinal detachment.
Here’s a list of toys to avoid this holiday season:
- Guns/projectiles. Avoid any toys that shoot objects into the air. Toy guns can shoot up to distances of 75 feet, and darts move fast enough to cause serious eye injuries - especially when used at close range.
- “Pointy” toys. Avoid toys with sharp or rough edges. Ensure long-handled toys have rounded handles, and closely supervise toddlers with them.
- Aerosol string. The chemicals in these products cause eye irritation and conjunctivitis. Used at close range, aerosol strings can also cause corneal abrasions that lead to serious eye infections.
- Laser pointers and bright flashlights. Portable laser pointers should never be used by children, as the light intensity can cause permanent vision loss. Even high-powered LED flashlights are dangerous, and can cause temporary blindness that puts a child at risk.
Choosing the right toys for eye safety is a concern for every parent. Children spend an abundance of their time playing with toys, so it’s important to make sure those toys are safe for overall health, as well as eye safety.
Dr. Stephen H. Uretsky is a board-certified ophthalmologist, with 35 years of practice experience, who specializes in comprehensive eye care. Coastal Jersey Eye Center features an optical center, Classic Eyewear, which provides eyeglass frames and lenses to suit every style and budget.
For more information on Coastal Jersey Eye Center, eye exams, or to schedule an appointment, please call our Linwood office, (609) 927-3373, or our Court House office, (609) 465-7926. Visit us online at www.CoastalJerseyEye.com.