Bottle rockets are a summertime favorite, but they're also a
major cause of kids' eye injuries. Keep an eye out for these and
other potential vision dangers.
More than one third of the estimated 40,000 sports-related
eye injuries that occur each year happen to children.
"Eye injuries are one of the leading causes of visual impairment
in children," says Dr. Alberto Martinez of the American Academy of
Ophthalmology. "The injuries range from abrasions of the cornea and
bruises of the lids to internal eye injuries, such as retinal
detachments and internal bleeding. Unfortunately, some of these
young athletes end up with permanent vision loss and
Martinez and the AAO recommend all children and adult
athletes wear appropriate, sport-specific protective eyewear,
especially for sports that involve small balls at high
Polycarbonate lenses can withstand the impact of a
projectile traveling at 90 miles per hour and offer the best
protection. Many children's sports leagues don't require protective
eyewear, so it's up to parents to exercise caution.
"Parents also can set a good example by wearing eye protection
when playing sports," says Martinez.
Children make up more than half of emergency room visits for eye
injuries caused by aerosol spray cans, according to a study of
emergency room data from 1997 to 2009 by Brown University. About
5,927 children 18 and younger were treated, with children under 5
the most likely to be injured.
Damage to the eyes included significant irritation,
chemical burns, or scratches and bruises on the eyeball. Spray
paint was the most common, followed by personal hygiene products
such as hairspray, then cleaning products and bug sprays. Pepper
spray injuries were very rare, but in every incident the victim was
a child. More than 70 percent of the cases occurred in the home. As
with all chemicals, keep aerosol sprays locked up or out of reach,
say the researchers.
They're fun to launch, but bottle rockets can cause
serious and permanent eye injury, warns a new study by Vanderbilt
University Medical Center in Nashville.
"If children, adolescents and parents choose to launch
bottle rockets, it is important for parents not only to supervise
children and adolescents in the vicinity of bottle rockets but also
to ensure that protective eyewear is being used," say the