August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety month. Eye injuries affect about 2.4 million people every year. Household products cause more than 125,000 serious eye injuries. Hospital emergency rooms treat nearly 23,000 victims of eye injuries from sports. Toys and home playground equipment cause more than 11,000 injuries to young eyes. Below are tips for preventing injury to your child’s eyes.

Eye safety at home

Here are tips to help protect your child from eye injury at home:

— Make sure the edges of furnishings and home fixtures have no sharp edges.

— Install lights and handrails to improve safety on stairs.

— Be careful when you open bottles of wine or carbonated drinks near your child.

— Don’t use hazardous solvents and detergents around your child. Don’t mix cleaning agents.

— Don’t use spray nozzles near your child’s face.

— Wash your hands after using household chemicals.

— Use guards on all power equipment.

— Keep children away when using a lawnmower or weed trimmer because debris may fly through the air.

— Keep all dangerous cleaning supplies and sprays out of the reach of children.

— Keep paints, pesticides and fertilizers properly stored in a secure area.

Eye safety outdoors and at play

You can help keep your child’s eyes safe by following these tips:

— Make sure your child wears sunglasses that protect from ultraviolet (UV) light.

— Teach your child to never look directly at the sun, including during an eclipse.

— Read and follow directions before playing games or using equipment.

— Make sure your child wears safety goggles or glasses during sports and leisure activities.

— Make sure your child wears a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield during high-impact sports.

— Select toys that are right for your child’s age and activity level.

— Supervise your child during activities that use sharp objects, such as crafting.

— Don’t let a young child play with toys that shoot pellets, arrows, paint balls or other projectiles. Have older children wear safety goggles.

— Check playgrounds and play areas for potential eye hazards.

— Keep children away from fireworks.

— Set an example of using protective eyewear during sporting and leisure activities.

— Make sure your child’s school requires protective eyewear during science experiments and sports.

If your child uses a computer

A child who uses a smartphone, tablet or computer is at risk for eye strain. You can help your child prevent eye strain if you:

— Position the computer screen slightly farther away from where your child would normally hold a book.

— Position the top of the screen at or slightly below eye level.

— Reduce nearby lighting to lessen reflections and glare.

— Keep the computer screen clean and dust-free.

— Make sure your child takes breaks to rest his or her eyes.

If your child wears contact lenses

You can help prevent eye infection and injury from contact lens use. Teach your child how to care for his or her contact lenses. This includes:

— Washing hands before touching contact lenses.

— Removing lenses and cleaning them as often as required.

— Not exposing eyes to water while wearing contact lenses.

— Applying makeup after inserting contact lenses, not before.

When to see a health-care provider

Take your child to an eye health care provider if your child has any signs of eye problems. This may include: redness, swelling, excess tears, tired, aching or heavy eyelids, eye pain, problems with focusing, muscle spasms of the eye or eyelid, headache, changes in vision, eye injury, skin around eye is cut.

This week’s Health Talk was submitted by Rutland Regional Medical Center.

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