Educate your patients on how to avoid common eye injuries
What’s on kids’ holiday wish lists this year? Nerf guns? Toys with lasers or LED lights? This is a great time to educate your patients about eye safety — especially those who may be buying gifts for their children or grandkids. Establish your practice as a trusted source of eye health information by sharing these tips and recommendations with your patients this season.
Protecting kids’ eyes
Kids are especially prone to injuries during the holidays — and the cause is often something under the Christmas tree. A study by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) found that an estimated 4,000 children under the age of 18 visit the emergency room each year after being injured by a toy. Two out of three injuries are to a child’s face and head. Yet 41 percent of surveyed parents either “rarely” or “never” considered eye safety when choosing toys for their kids. Educate your patients on these common culprits to watch out for.
Avoid gifting kids these top eye-injury-causing toys.
- Nerf guns and water guns. They may seem harmless, and better alternatives than BB guns, but even a soft foam dart can cause significant injury if it hits the eye — especially from a close range. Even toy guns that shoot a stream of water can cause serious eye damage, especially when used at close range. Bleeding of the eye, lingering pain, blurry vision, seeing black spots or starbursts are all warnings that a child needs an eye exam from a trained eye care professional ASAP.
- Lasers and bright lights. Laser pointers, laser light projectors or other bright lights can pose risks to children’s eyes if they look directly into the lights or shine them into others’ eyes. In fact, the light intensity of lasers can permanently damage vision. It’s best to avoid giving them to children at all. Even LED-powered lights can be dangerous since they can cause temporary blindness that may put children at risk of falling or another accident.
- Anything pointy. Toys like fishing poles, plastic swords, and lightsabers can cause damage to the eye. While many toys and games are labeled with a suggested age range, use common sense and bear in mind that toys given to an older child may be accessible to younger siblings. When in doubt, opt for safety first.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that 90 percent of eye injuries could be prevented through proper education and use of eye protective wear.
Safe (and fun!) gift ideas
We’re not here to spoil all the fun for patients and their kids this holiday. Show them that eye safety can be stylish! Surveys show that Generation Z loves glasses and sunglasses. Here are a few ideas for the people on your gift list.
Safe and stylish eyewear is a great gift idea for any age.
Safety glasses and/or stylish frames. Protective eyewear comes in lightweight, inexpensive and colorful options. Consider these glasses from Amazon or these from Home Depot. Feel free to share these affordable options with your patients to include in their kids’ stockings or give them out to young patients in your practice.
Sunglasses. Projectiles and toys are not the only risks to eyes. Remind your patients that it’s important to protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays by wearing sunglasses year-round, to prevent damage to the eye that can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and vision loss. Consider sharing this short video on your social media pages.
Showcase your offerings with modern, attractive eyewear displays and offer seasonal promotions that may entice patients to treat themselves or their loved ones to new glasses for the holidays. Given supply chain issues and shipping costs and delays, more people than ever are willing to shop local.
Read our blog Stop Promoting Glasses the Old-Fashioned Way to learn more about promoting stylish frames all year round.