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A Look at Holiday Toys with a High Risk of Eye Injury

PHOTO: Toy guns are the most often cited culprits when it comes to toys and childhood eye injuries in the U.S. Photo credit: Ben Harwood/Flickr.
PHOTO: Toy guns are the most often cited culprits when it comes to toys and childhood eye injuries in the U.S. Photo credit: Ben Harwood/Flickr.
December 15, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – As parents across Minnesota continue to pack the malls and stores, a reminder that some gifts for their children can bring pain as well as joy.

Thousands of accidents in the U.S. each year involving children and toys result in eye injuries and even blindness.

Optometrist Jessica Schara says there is a long list of dangerous toys.

"BB guns, paint guns, slingshots, darts – anything that's a projectile,” she points out. “But even things like chemistry sets, woodworking sets, crafts that involve scissors and glue, can also be dangerous."

Schara adds parents need to heed the age recommendations of toy manufacturers and teach their children about safe use.

One common toy-related eye injury is a corneal abrasion, but Schara says she also has treated children with more serious trauma, including orbital bone fractures and detached retinas.

"What's important for everybody to know is, if there is any sort of eye injury, you really should seek the advice of an eye-care practitioner,” she advises. “Because sometimes there are things that aren't visible deep inside the eye that might be going on, that could potentially lead to vision loss."

Toys that could do physical harm to a child's eyes, however, are not the only danger to vision that may come wrapped up under the tree. Schara points to all those tech gadgets and screen time.

"Blue light from things like tablets, smart phones, computers and even the TVs can cause computer vision eye strain," she explains.

For children and adults who have long periods of screen time, one recommendation is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. That's taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes, and viewing something 20 feet away.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN