Focus on children’s eye health and safety

By Shayna Brouker • Published: August 16th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The old admonition “You’ll put your eye out,” heard frequently in childhood and especially in the presence of B-B guns, holds more wisdom than kids think. August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, and given tots’ and teens’ penchant for tumbles, trips and falls, it’s prudent for parents to learn the risks and symptoms of an eye injury or condition.

Prevent Blindness America, a nonprofit group dedicated to preventing the loss of sight, says the most common causes of eye injury in children stem from misusing toys; falling from beds, and bumping against furniture or stairs.

Other hazards? Everyday tools and objects, like work and garden tools, knives and forks, pens and pencils. Contact with harmful household products also poses a risk.

Since kids can make weapons out of almost anything, the group advises avoiding toys with sharp edges, spikes and rods, or items that fly or shoot. Keep toddlers from stumbling down stairs by using safety gates at the top and bottom. Cushion sharp corners and lock cabinets containing chemicals.

In the car, make sure all loose items are secured — they can become dangerous in a crash.

Wearing proper eye protection during sports — no matter how ‘dorky’ they look — can also save an eye from a well-placed kick or pitch. And, of course, take extra caution around fireworks; about one-thousand-four-hundred fireworks injuries each year involve the eyes.

Despite all your best efforts to keep those peepers protected, if your little one has a tiff with a toy, look out for these symptoms: If your child has pain or trouble seeing, a cut or torn eyelid, or has something in the eye or under the eyelid that can’t easily be removed, it’s time to call your doc. Also look out for unusual pupil size or shape, blood in the eye or uneven eye movement.

A little foresight can go a long way to keeping kids healthy.