How to prevent eye injuries

Eye injuries affect more than 2.5 million people every year, yet 90% of these injuries are preventable with basic safety practices and the use of appropriate safety eyewear.

The home is the fastest-growing location where eye injuries occur. The most common causes of eye injuries in children are from the misuse of toys, falls, the misuse of everyday household and school objects, contact with dangerous household products, and automobile accidents. Consider these reminders from Prevent Blindness America for you and your child:

At home or outside:

  • Wash your hands after using household chemicals.
  • Ensure there are no sharp corners on the edges of furnishings and home fixtures.
  • Wear chemical safety goggles when using hazardous solvents and detergents, and do not mix cleaning agents around or near your child.
  • Turn spray nozzles away from your face and the faces of others.
  • Read and follow directions when opening bottle-tops (for example, wine or carbonated beverages).
  • Read and follow directions when playing games and operating equipment.
  • Provide lights and handrails to improve safety on stairs.
  • Keep paints, pesticides, and fertilizers properly stored in a secure area.
  • Make sure you and your child wear recommended protective goggles, helmets, and safety gear during the appropriate activities.
  • Use guards on all power equipment.
  • Make sure your child's eyes are protected either by a wide-brimmed hat or by wearing ultraviolet-protective sunglasses.
  • Teach your child to never look directly at the sun (especially during an eclipse).

At play:

  • Make sure your child wears recommended protective eyewear during the appropriate sports and recreational activities.
  • A helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield should be worn during the appropriate sports.

With children:

  • Select toys that are appropriate for the child's age and activity level.
  • Provide adequate supervision for your child during activities that use sharp objects (for example, arts and crafts).
  • Do not permit a child to play with projectile toys, such as pellet guns or bows and arrows.
  • Beware of items in playgrounds and play areas that pose potential eye hazards.
  • Keep all hazardous cleaning supplies and sprays out of the reach of children.
  • Keep children away from fireworks.
  • Set an example of using the appropriate protective eyewear during sporting and recreational activities.
  • Keep children away from lawnmowers in use, as debris may be projected into the air.
  • At school, teach children to wear protective eyewear when performing science or lab experiments.

Online Medical Reviewer: Maredith Rus, MD, FAAP
Department: Emergency Medicine