Eye injuries are a major cause of preventable sight loss around the world, especially among children.
Protecting sight is especially important when a child has already lost vision or an eye to retinoblastoma.
There are many simple things you can do to prevent eye injury and protect your children’s eyes – and your own.
Below are some practical tips for everyone in the family – young and not so young – to protect eyes and sight while enjoying everyday activities.
Buy toys that are appropriate for your child’s age and developmental level. Avoid toys like darts, play swards and pellet guns as these have a high risk of eye injury. Always supervise children using potentially dangerous toys and ensure they know how to use them safely.
Teach children how to handle sharp implements safely, For example, holding scissors by the handle, point downwards, when walking, and passing them to other people with the handle forward, Insist children never run while holding scissors, pencils, cutlery or other sharp items and explain to them why this is important.
Parents often struggle to strike a balance between letting a child participate in games and sport as any other child, and being careful. Games and sports help children develop coordination and confidence. Some people prefer to avoid contact sports, while others thrive in these activities.
Tell coaches and team members about your child’s low vision and artificial eye so they can take precautions while actively engaging your child.
Insist everyone in the family wear protective sports glasses or safety glasses when playing sports such as squash, tennis and cricket, or when paint-balling.
Wear protective helmets and face guards for activities like skateboarding, rollerblading and cycling. Brain injury may significantly impair vision, and has other potentially devastating effects.
Safety At Home
when using cleaning products, ensure the spray nozzle is directed away from your face and away from your children. Ensure children are not running around in your immediate area while you use spray cleaners.
Do not mix ammonia and chlorine. Reactive poisonous vapours severely irritate eyes and can be potentially fatal to children and adults.
Do not touch your eyes or your child’s eyes while using cleaning fluids of any kind. Always wash your hands thoroughly first.
Keep children out of the garden when mowing or using a strimmer, and wear goggles or safety glasses. Stones, twigs and other small debris can be thrown up by the rotar blades, causing severe eye injuries. The nylon thread In power strimmers can also break and whip the eye. While these accidents are rare, they are often devastating, so prevention is vital.
Trim low hanging branches and brambles to prevent children and adults running into them.
When using pesticides and other chemicals, ensure the spray nozzle is directed away from your face and away from your children. Ensure children do not run into your immediate area while you use these sprays.
When working with chemicals, power tools or other potentially dangerous materials, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from splashes, fumes, sparks, flying fragments and dust. Either keep your children well away, or insist they also wear eye protecton when near your workspace.
All fireworks can be dangerous and even lethal when incorrectly used. Avoid injury by attending organised community displays. However, if you hold your own display, obtain safety advice first and thoroughly read all instructions to minimise your risk, and risk to others.
Keep everyone well back before lighting fireworks. Instructions will indicate a safe distance for individual fireworks. Always wear eye protection, and never lean over the firework when lighting it. Never go back to a firework once the fuse has been lit, and do not allow anyone else to do this.
Never allow children to play with or light fireworks, sparklers or matches. Always supervise children holding sparklers, and show them how to hold the sparkler safely. Sparklers can create temperatures of over 1,800°F – hot enough to melt gold – and must be handled with great care.