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Eye Safety Part 1: Protecting your child’s eyes

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, so: parents, this one is for you!

Yes, back-to-school everything is around the corner, and with sports and other activities, that means higher risks for your child’s eyes. Here are some tips recommended by AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmology) for ensuring your kid doesn’t have to come see us for anything other than their annual eye exam.

The number one protection tip:

dreamstime_xs_30642742Use protective eyewear.

According to AAO:

“More than 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented through use of suitable protective eyewear.

Sports deserve particular attention, because eye injuries occur fairly often in children and young adult athletes: between the ages of five and 14, most sports-related injuries in the U.S. occur while playing baseball.”

I know, I know. A kid is not going to want to wear “goggles” to a baseball game. Most people don’t – and the results speak for themselves. In the Eye Injury Snapshot, an annual survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma, more than 78% of the responders who had experienced an injury were not wearing eyewear at the time – and of those who were, only 5.3% had safety or sports glasses.

Organizations like the above are working hard to increase awareness and make safety eyewear a more common practice, because it’s such an easy way to prevent unnecessary injury. My* own sister got hit in the eye with a baseball when she was young, and it was almost considered to be a commonplace part of growing up…but why should it be? Even in the cases where the damage isn’t permanent, why not save a trip to the doctor in the first place? For your kids, wearing sports glasses is the easiest way to protect their eyes during high-risk activities like baseball.

Eye safety at home:

Outside of school, start by making sure your chemicals and sprays are kept out of reach of children. In addition, AAO says: “Parents and others who provide care and supervision for children need to practice safe use of common items that can cause serious eye injury, such as paper clips, pencils, scissors, bungee cords, wire coat hangers and rubber bands.”

I’m not saying you should keep your child from ever touching a rubber band, etc. Instead, as your children get older, teach them safe practices right from the beginning – starting with leading by example and protecting yourself during higher-risk activities! (I’ll do a blog on adult eye safety later this year.)

Have age-appropriate toys for your kids, and don’t give them projectile toys – and especially not BB guns! – until/unless you are positive they know how to use them safely. Fireworks and bottle rockets? Same thing. You would not believe the number of fireworks-related eye injuries our doctors have to treat every July 4th, and it’s especially upsetting when it’s happened to children.

Trust me – here at Cascadia Eye, we really don’t want to have to see your children for preventable eye injuries!

 

Contact Cascadia Eye

Alex BrandtIf you would like to learn more, or if you would like to schedule an appointment at Cascadia Eye, please contact us today. We are happy to answer any questions you might have!

In addition, join us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to ask your questions about eyes, exams, and our practice. We’d love to hear from you – and there might be a blog to address your questions in the future.

 

*Who, you ask? Alex Brandt, Cascadia Eye’s official blogger. You can read the my intro post here!