Eye injuries when sustained in childhood can be very dangerous and potentially permanent depending on the situation. Accidentally prone children may not understand the implications that come with hurting their eyes. The goal of Children’s Eye Safety Month is to raise awareness about eye and vision injuries, show the importance of healthy vision and early detection of vision problems.
Over the past three years (2017-19), children aged 3-12 accounted for nearly 2,800 visits to Wisconsin hospital emergency rooms with reported eye injuries. Of those ED visits, 39% of cases seen were female and the remaining were males.
Based off the data, age also seems to play a factor into the likelihood of a child injuring their eyes. Those aged 3 and 4 had the highest number of eye injuries, accounting for 689 cases. Visits trend downward as the children get older, except for ages 11 and 12.
Certain description codes are attached to the child’s medical record after an eye injury diagnosis. The description with the highest number of reported cases was “exposure to inanimate mechanical forces.” Examples of this category include struck by a thrown or falling object, contact with sharp objects or tools, and explosions.
Almost all ED visits were caused by accidental injuries. The following proactive tips are extremely important for parents and caretakers.
- Make sure the sharp edges of furnishing and home fixtures are padded or cushioned.
- Locks should be put on cabinets and drawers that children can reach.
- Lights and handrails can be installed to improve safety on stairs.
- Use guards on power equipment and tools around the house.
- Keep all hazardous solvents and detergents away and out of reach of your child.
- Keep children away when using a lawnmower or weed trimmer due to flying debris.
- Avoid purchasing toys like bow and arrows, darts, and other small missile-firing toys.
- Keep all firearms locked in a gun cabinet and out of reach of children.
Tips come from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and University of Rochester Medical Center. You can also read the AAO’s “Seven Myths About Children’s Eyes” here