The Christmas season means celebrating and spending time with loved ones, but unfortunately eye injuries can still happen during the holidays. Certain types of injuries become more common—including corneal abrasion, penetration by a foreign object, retinal detachment, even vision loss—and can seriously affect your vision if they aren’t treated by a professional immediately. So the famous quote “You’ll shoot your eye out” from A Christmas Story had some truth to it after all. Here’s what you need to know to avoid getting eye injuries for Christmas.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, we’re wary of your branches! Finding the perfect tree is usually an exciting holiday tradition for many. But mind those branches, or your eyes could be getting more than they bargained for. Whether your tree is real or artificial, you could still get poked in the eye from wayward pine needles and branches so it’s best to wear protective eyewear. Wood chips, dust and tree sap from real trees can also cause an eye infection. Be careful loading the tree onto your vehicle and before removing the netting, make sure others are at a safe distance—especially children—as branches can spring out suddenly.
Deck the Halls Without the Folly
Festive decorations are a big part of holiday cheer, but they can also lead to eye injuries since many have sharp points and/or are breakable. Make sure children understand that some decorations are fragile, or avoid using fragile decor altogether until kids can be more careful. Replace any broken or damaged decorations. If you’re using spray snow or a similar product, try to find a non-toxic brand and wear safety glasses when using it. Aim the nozzle far away from everyone’s eyes—including your own—and don’t use it anywhere accessible to infants, as they could potentially rub it into their eyes and get an eye infection.
Trouble in Toyland
One of the best things about Christmas is seeing children’s faces light up with joy as they open presents. Unfortunately, toys are the leading cause of eye injuries during the holidays. To minimize accidents and maximize joy, keep these tips in mind:
- Stick to age-appropriate gifts. Check the toy’s recommended age group on the product label.
- Check with the intended child’s parents whether a gift would be safe or appropriate for the child.
- Buy eye protection gear if necessary for some toys.
- Toys with projectiles, aerosols, fishing poles, lasers and/or bright lights are a greater risk to eye safety.
- Some toys require more adult supervision than others (such as those listed above). Watch your child closely around gifts with higher risk of damage to their eyes.
- Keep toys meant for older children a safe distance from younger children.
- Read warning labels and safety messaging on new toys before playing with them.
- Visit the Government of Canada website for recalled toys.
- Consult the annual list of high risk toys compiled by W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm).
- Check the condition of old toys, and repair or discard any damaged ones.
By taking some simple precautionary measures, you can make sure you and your loved ones are able to celebrate a safe and happy holiday season. From our team at Ambleside Family Optometry, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2021!