Mom was right when she warned you, “you can put an eye out with that!” And during the holiday season, the dangers are real. Eye safety is always important, and being aware of the common seasonal accidents can help you avoid a trip to the eye doctor or the emergency room.
Many Christmases have been spoiled by eye injuries from the toys meant to bring joy, but thankfully, since 1972, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has made Christmas mornings a little bit safer. Gifts such as Jarts (giant metal yard darts) and Chemistry Sets that included explosive materials have been banned. However, children’s wish lists still include Nerf guns, air soft guns, or slingshots. In fact, over 20% of all eye injuries are caused by propulsion toys. Make sure if gifting these toys that they include the proper safety accessories. Don’t forget to make age appropriate selections, give proper instructions, and offer parental guidance with any hazardous toys.
The holidays offer many other opportunities for eye injuries. Just putting up your tree with its prickly needles can pose a danger to your eyes. Make sure to wear proper eye protection if you are headed to the woods to cut down your own tree. Accidents have also occurred while decorating, whether a tumble into the tree from a wobbly ladder or just reaching in to plug lights and inadvertently getting a tree needle in your eye. The beautiful frosted spray snow can be an eye irritant if it is sprayed above your face. Glitter, spun glass (angel hair), and fragile glass ornaments can also cause damage to you or your children’s eyes. Remember when working around your tree or garland, eye protection is always a good idea.
A new trend in holiday decorating is the dazzling Christmas laser light shows. These laser lights project onto the outside of your home and display beautiful designs. But you have to be careful not to look directly into the light when setting up your show. Laser lights can do permanent eye damage, so be sure to be safe when setting it up.
Many people also enjoy celebrating Christmas and New Years with fireworks. Fireworks should only be handled by an adult wearing protective safety glasses and discharged from a secure distance away from family and friends. Over half of the fireworks-related injuries are suffered by innocent bystanders and most are eye injuries. Enjoy your fireworks display, but please be aware of the potential dangers and remind everyone to point those “party poppers” away from people’s faces.
Lastly, don’t forget the bubbly! Mishandled champagne corks can fly out at an incredible speed. Every holiday, doctors see numerous eye injuries from these errant corks. Make sure to point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from your face and your guests. It is also recommended to place a towel over the top of the bottle.
The lights and festivities of the upcoming holidays are truly a beautiful thing. Just remember to practice eye safety so you can enjoy all the sights for years to come. We hope some of these helpful tips and words of caution for avoiding eye injuries will make this a joyful, safe holiday season for you and all of your loved ones.