Some toys may look like they will give a child hours of playtime fun when actually they put a child at risk of injury. When considering the safety of a toy, possible eye injuries, such corneal abrasions, corneal ulcers, retinal detachment, and bleeding inside the eye, often aren't something parents or grandparents think about when purchasing toys for children. Unfortunately, depending on the severity of an eye injury, a child can suffer permanent vision loss.
Toys to Leave Sitting On the Store Shelf
With thousands of children in the U.S. suffering eye injuries each year – some that lead to partial vision loss or blindness – which result from accidents at home or while at play, it's important to know what common toys to avoid to prevent eye injury.
Slingshots, foam dart guns, and other toys that involve shooting projectiles are among the types of toys children shouldn't have. Even if a child is old enough to know not point the toys at other children, the projectiles can travel some distance at fast speeds. Consequently, any toy with flying parts poses the risk for eye injury.
Toy guns, pointy toy swords, toy wands, and other toys made of hard plastic and that have sharp edges are a threat to a child's eye safety. Blunt or penetrating trauma to the eyes can lead to all kinds of injuries, including bleeding inside the eye, which requires immediate medical care. An ophthalmologist or emergency room doctor will assess the extent of the damage before offering instructions for care.
Laser toys and the laser pointers that kids use to play laser tag can cause serious eye injuries when a child aims a laser directly at someone. A laser with an output power of more than five milliwatts can cause serious retinal damage even after just brief exposure.
Not all small laser pointers are safe either. Pointers that run on button batteries usually have an output power of less than five milliwatts. But the power of pen-sized pointers that run on AA or AAA batteries or are designed to spread the beam in a pattern likely exceeds five milliwatts.
Another point to consider is that blue- and violet light lasers are even more dangerous than red or green lasers. A child may not blink as quickly from blue or violet light, increasing the risk of eye injury.
Even toys that don't look like they are dangerous can cause eye injuries. Water balloons and water guns that children use at close range have the potential to cause serious eye damage. Blunt trauma to the eye from a water balloon can cause retinal detachment – a serious eye condition that can lead to permanent vision loss.
Injury to the eye or face increases the risk for retinal detachment – a condition that occurs when the retina pulls away from the underlying supportive tissue. Although a child may not have pain, symptoms of retinal detachment include blurry or poor vision, floaters, and flashes of light. Treatment requires surgery to repair the detached retina and restore lost vision.
Aerosol String Products
Aerosol string may be a fun activity for a birthday party, but spraying it toward another child's face at close range can cause a corneal abrasion – a scratch on the cornea of the eye. Anything that hits the eye can cause a corneal abrasion, and a scratch or scrape on the front surface of the eye can affect vision. A superficial abrasion may heal quickly, but abrasions that penetrate the eye more deeply can cause corneal scarring.
The chemicals in aerosol string products can also cause eye irritation and chemical conjunctivitis (pink eye). Treatment requires immediately flushing the eyes for several minutes with saline or water. Following an examination by a doctor to determine the severity of the injury, the doctor may recommend the use of artificial tears or topical steroids to decrease redness and irritation.
For more information, contact Charles Richards A OD or a similar medical professional.