Three ways to keep your kids’ eyes safe: Chicago doctors share tips

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.

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-relatedeye injuries that occur each year happen to children.

“Eye injuries are one of the leading causes of visual impairmentin children,” says Dr. Alberto Martinez of the American Academy ofOphthalmology. “The injuries range from abrasions of the cornea andbruises of the lids to internal eye injuries, such as retinaldetachments and internal bleeding. Unfortunately, some of theseyoung athletes end up with permanent vision loss andblindness.”

Martinez and the AAO recommend all children and adultathletes wear appropriate, sport-specific protective eyewear,especially for sports that involve small balls at highvelocity.

Polycarbonate lenses can withstand the impact of aprojectile traveling at 90 miles per hour and offer the bestprotection. Many children’s sports leagues don’t require protectiveeyewear, so it’s up to parents to exercise caution.

“Parents also can set a good example by wearing eye protectionwhen playing sports,” says Martinez.

Sports


Children make up more than half of emergency room visits for eyeinjuries caused by aerosol spray cans, according to a study ofemergency room data from 1997 to 2009 by Brown University. About5,927 children 18 and younger were treated, with children under 5the most likely to be injured.

Damage to the eyes included significant irritation,chemical burns, or scratches and bruises on the eyeball. Spraypaint was the most common, followed by personal hygiene productssuch as hairspray, then cleaning products and bug sprays. Pepperspray injuries were very rare, but in every incident the victim wasa child. More than 70 percent of the cases occurred in the home. Aswith all chemicals, keep aerosol sprays locked up or out of reach,say the researchers.

Aerosol spray cans


They’re fun to launch, but bottle rockets can causeserious and permanent eye injury, warns a new study by VanderbiltUniversity Medical Center in Nashville.

“If children, adolescents and parents choose to launchbottle rockets, it is important for parents not only to supervisechildren and adolescents in the vicinity of bottle rockets but alsoto ensure that protective eyewear is being used,” say theresearchers.

Bottle rockets


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