Beyond No-Tears Baby Shampoo: Preventing Eye Injuries

No-sting baby shampoo. Goggles in science class. Protective eyewear for sports. We do what we can to prevent eye injuries because we know that whether it’s shampoo, dirt, or a foreign object, getting something in your eye is painful. And it’s a little scary too. Worrying about permanent vision problems and blindness takes an eye injury from a common household boo boo to a more serious medical situation.

According to a Rhode Island Medical Journal article, common eye injuries occur from sports, fireworks, cleaning chemicals, grease splatters, sand boxes, laser and paintball guns, flying toys, and falls. More than 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the United States each year, seventy-nine percent at home. Schools and recreation/sports areas are also common places to get an eye injury. Forty-four percent of eye injuries were contusions and abrasions, nineteen percent foreign body injuries, and ten percent conjunctivitis.

What dangers are most likely to affect your child? According to the Rhode Island Medical Journal article, it depends on his or her age.

  • Chemicals, like cleaners, glues, and sprays, are the leading cause of eye injury for children four and under. The accidents were caused by siblings, parents or the patient themselves.
  • Household items, including bags, boxes, paper, clothing, hair combs, clothes hangers, spoons, teapots, toys, and umbrellas, are the leading cause of eye injuries for children 5 to 9 years of age.
  • Sports injuries are the leading cause of eye injuries for children 10 and up, especially those 10 to 14 years of age. Eye injuries are often caused by balls, bikes, fishing poles, clubs, paintballs, soft guns, and air pistols.

Preventing eye injuries is not fail-safe, but there are steps you can take to lessen the risk of eye injury.

  • Have children wear protective eye equipment.  According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 90% of eye injuries could be prevented with protective eyewear.
  • Choose safe, age-appropriate toys.
  • Keep household cleaners, chemicals locked up and out of reach.
  • Never use fireworks or sparklers.
  • When using fryers, be sure to use sealed lids.
  • Replace worn and old carpeting to prevent falls.
  • Pad sharp corners on furniture and fixtures.
  • Use safety gates.
  • Keep children away from the yard when it is being mowed.
  • Set an example for children: wear protective eyewear when playing sports, using power or yard tools, and engaging in any activity that could cause an eye injury.

No matter how much we do to prevent eye injuries, sand always finds its way into eyes in the sandbox at the park. And accidents happen. When eye injuries occur, be sure you know the right way to treat them by reviewing our blog post To Flush or Not To Flush: The Right Way To Treat Eye Injuries.


Disclaimer:  This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  It is provided for educational purposes only.