When it comes to children, playtime means sports, recreation and DIY crafts. While it may be a fun time for kids, it is essential for them and their parents to be aware of all the eye injuries and safety practices to avoid any mishap. Did you know, each year at least 1000 kids sustain eye damage, perhaps even blindness from accidents that occur at home, on the playground, or in the car. The good news is that almost 90 percent of these injuries can be prevented with proper care and protective eyewear.
Types of Eye Injuries:
Injuries due to hand sanitizers or paper scratching the front surface of the eye are cited to be the most common ones among children, says Dr. Deepak Garg, a Mumbai based paediatric ophthalmologist.
In a recent interview with the Lenskart team, Dr. Garg mentions about three common eye injuries in kids.
Children are generally very clumsy and playful. In recent times, since utmost importance is given to keeping hands clean and virus-free, a tube of sanitizer is every parents and kids go-to. During the COVID-19 pandemic in India, researchers found a three-fold increase in the number of alcohol-based, hand sanitizer eye exposures among children. While chemical injuries may vary in terms of severity, from mild and self-limited to severe and vision-threatening, parents must be careful when their children are exposed to chemicals like these.
Blunt injury is a type of injury that occurs when you get hit hard in the eye by an object such as a ball or another kid’s fist while fighting, says Dr. Garg. This can lead to various intrinsic eye injuries like eye deformity, eye pain, vision loss, and more. It is identifiable if your child has sustained injuries to the eye, eyelid, and area around the eye/if it is bleeding or swollen. The main thing to consider if your child is suffering from a blunt eye injury is to see if there has been any vision damage. Dr Garg says, older kids usually can tell immediately if their vision is unfocused or blurred. The signs you must watch out for are tilting of the head or minor, but frequent headaches. This can also be tested at home by covering each eye in turn and having them look at an object from a distance. If the child is less than six years old and facing a minor injury, visit an eye doctor at the earliest to prevent major damage in the future.
This type of injury is caused when a sharp foreign object comes in contact with the eye or stays in the eye, says Dr. Garg. Also known as perforating injury, this kind can often result in vision loss and blindness among children. Parents, caregivers, and child supervisors need to be watchful of children and practice safe use of common items found in and around the household such as paper clips, pencils, scissors, bungee cords, wire coat hangers, and rubber bands, that can cause serious penetrating eye injuries.
Planning to buy new toys for your child? Make sure they are marked with “ASTM”, which means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Do not allow your children anywhere near fireworks.
Keep all sprays and chemicals out of reach of children.
If your child loves sports, eye protectors made up of polycarbonate lenses are mandatory.
First Aid Tips
If your child is injured, consult his/her ophthalmologist. Even if their injury seems minor, you cannot examine it better than a doctor. Delaying a medical check-up might lead to permanent vision loss or blindness.
Before you seek medical help, there are a few things you must keep in mind, which are listed below:
- Do not rub/touch/apply pressure to the affected eye/s.
- Do not try to remove the object stuck in the eye yourself. Request your child to blink their eyes repeatedly in case small particles have penetrated their eyes. The tears formed because of blinking will help flush out the unwanted elements.
- Remember to not use any oil or ointment on the affected eyes without consulting the doctor.
- In case of a wound or cut, cover the eyes gently.
- In case of a chemical injury, use water to flush out the toxins immediately.
In any case, do not bandage the eye.