Top Tips for Eye Safety this Holiday and Winter Season

Top Tips for Eye Safety this Holiday and Winter Season

With the holiday season upon us, it’s important to note the extra care we need to take to make sure the toys and gifts our children receive are safe and age-appropriate.  For this reason, Prevent Blindness America has declared December “Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month”.

In 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries treated in United States hospital emergency departments, with an estimated 80,100 of these injuries on children younger than five. 45% of the total injuries were to the head and face area. These statistics show that consumers should keep eye safety in mind when shopping for kids this holiday season. To help them do that, Prevent Blindness has complied some important tips for ensuring safety while shopping.

Look at every toy before you buy it. Is the toy durable? Can it stand the wear and tear of everyday use without breaking, cracking or coming apart? Does it shoot objects or have sharp edges? Toys that fail these tests should be reconsidered.

Before you purchase a toy:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Ask yourself if the toy is right for your child’s ability and age.
  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.

 

Aside from the holidays, there are certain winter precautions to take involving eye protection and safety.  Protecting your eyes from the sun’s UV rays is just as important in January as it is in July. It is a common misconception that eye damage cannot occur during the winter months. Sun exposure can increase the development of cataracts, and cause growths on the eye regardless of the season.

The sun can have a vividly harsh reflection off the snow in the winter and it’s critical to take the necessary precautions in protecting yourself and your children.  Hats, sunscreen, goggles or other UV protective eyewear are all ways to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun, even in the winter. Studies have found that exposure to UV radiation can even be high on cloudy days with the northern hemisphere having its highest exposure at midday. Dr. Anne Sumers, a practicing ophthalmologist in Ridgewood, NJ and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Ophthalmologist states, “Sunlight reflected off the snow can actually sunburn the cornea in the winter.”

With the chill of winter just around the corner, here’s a few tips on what you can do to stay ahead of the weather and protect your eyes:

Wear sunglasses

Snowy and icy conditions double the sun’s effects as ultraviolet rays have access to your eyes from both above and as reflections off the snow. Wearing sunglasses can block 99% of UV light, therefore taking the pressure off your eyes. Many people aren’t aware that the sun’s harsh effects are not specific to sunny days.

Moisturize your eyes

If you already suffer from dry eye, its likely for you to have difficulty in keeping your eyes moist and comfortable – even in the winter. It’s important to try to use eye drops, sit farther away from heat sources, or use a humidifier to alleviate dryness in the environment for your eyes.

Use goggles during winter activities

Goggles help protect your eyes during activities where dirt, slush, snow and ice can get into your eyes while outdoors. Find goggles that either have enough room to wear UV protection sunglasses underneath them or a find a pair with UV protection already built into the goggles themselves.

If you experience discomfort with your vision when the temperatures cool off, be sure to ask your eyecare professional to include optomap in your comprehensive eye exam. optomap can help diagnose and treat early signs of eye ailments. To find a provider near you, visit www.optomap.com

http://www.visionmonday.com/latest-news/article/prevent-blindness-names-december-safe-toys-and-gifts-awareness-month/
https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/buying-safe-toys
https://yoursightmatters.com/protect-your-e-in-the-winter/

July is Fireworks Safety Month – Leave the Shows to the Pros!

Although July 4th, or Independence Day, has come and gone, there is a good possibility that some of us have a few extra sparklers, or an “All the fireworks are gone, kids – time for bed!” stash of leftovers hidden behind the stale pretzels in the top cupboard.  July is Fireworks Eye Safety Month, and because fireworks sometimes become a part of many year-round celebrations, it is an excellent opportunity to clarify our understanding of the do’s and don’ts of pyrotechnic use.

While the thrill many of us derive from the thunderous booms and brilliant blooms of fireworks is undeniable, so are the sobering statistics that accompany these displays.

In recent years, in June and July alone, over 6000 fireworks related injuries occur and over 20% of those are eye injuries.  These injuries can range from temporary or more superficial issues to severe, life altering injuries including burns and bleeding in the eye, retinal detachments, and even a ruptured globe or blindness.  Many of these injuries occur to those who are not even handling the fireworks and, even more distressing is that frequently these injuries afflict children.Prevent Blindness America and the American Academy of Blindness sponsor July as Fireworks Eye Safety Month to raise awareness of the dangers, as well as, the safe protocols for viewing or handling pyrotechnic displays or devices.  It is critical at the outset to understand that these devastating injuries are not restricted to large explosives but are often derived from the seemingly innocent firework items we acquire from the pop-up vendors near the corner store. It is easy for any of us to get caught up in all the excitement and activity or become distracted by hosting responsibilities, conversations and crowds.  Take into consideration, as well, that these festivities and shows are generally conducted past dusk and simply navigating an event with numerous people and smoke bombs can become challenging, let alone successfully dodging the searing signatures of sparkler-wielding children.

While consumer fireworks are illegal in some places in the US, most states permit the sale and use of what are considered Safe and Sane items. Whether one supports the use or ban of consumer fireworks, it is important to practice and share firework safety guidelines at private or public events.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends critical practices and procedures for firework use.

Fireworks safety tips

The Academy advises that the best way to avoid a potentially blinding fireworks injury is by attending a professional public firework show rather than purchasing fireworks for home use.

For those who attend professional fireworks displays and/or live in communities surrounding the shows:

  • Respect safety barriers at fireworks shows and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
  • Do not touch unexploded fireworks; instead, immediately contact local fire or police departments to help.

For those who decide to purchase consumer fireworks because they live in states where they are legal, the Academy recommends the following safety tips to prevent eye injuries:

  • Never let young children play with fireworks of any type, even sparklers.
  • People who handle fireworks should always wear protective eyewear that meets the parameters set by the American National Standards Institute and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection.
  • Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians.

What to do in the event of a fireworks eye injury
If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, remember:

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Do not rinse your eyes.
  • Do not apply pressure.
  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
  • Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/injuries-fireworks-eye-safety
https://everharteyes.com/july.html
https://www.friendsforsight.org/resources/eye-health-awareness/item/12-firework-safety-month-july