ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- In the midst of the excitement and chaos the holiday season brings, children’s eye care will undoubtedly be one of the furthest things from parents’ minds. However, it is important for parents to keep the health of their youngsters’ vision top of mind and to make children aware of potential dangers.
Dr. Sean Donahue, noted pediatric ophthalmologist and a member of the advisory council for Bausch + Lomb’s Early Vision Institute, a global initiative that aims to protect children’s eyes from long-term vision problems and prevent childhood blindness, suggests parents be aware of the following potential holiday eye hazards:
- Be cautious of holiday decorations that may poke or scratch children’s eyes. Christmas trees are often at eye level for young children -- especially infants and toddlers -- and pine needles, branches, ornament hooks, lights and breakable bulbs pose a risk. He encourages parents to keep breakable ornaments and lights toward the top of the tree and out of children’s reach. He also suggests that parents consider using ribbon to hang any soft, low-hanging decorations on the tree to avoid the risk of sharp ornament hooks.
- Dr. Donahue also reminds parents of the importance of protecting their children’s eyes when playing outside during winter months. Children learning to ski or snowboard should always wear goggles to protect their eyes from trauma. Sledding, snowmobiling and even snowball fights also pose risks, and parents should keep a close eye on children while they’re playing outside. He also points out that severe trauma to children’s eyes could lead to long-term vision problems, pediatric cataract or permanent blindness.
- Toys may be a danger to children’s eyes. Parents should be especially cautious of sharp pieces and be sure they are age appropriate. Projectile toys, such as guns, rockets and slingshots, may harm children’s eyes and should only be used under adult supervision. Packaging may also pose a risk, especially for young children. Dr. Donahue warns parents of stiff cardboard packaging and heavy-duty twist ties that are often used to secure toys in the packaging, as both may poke or scratch children’s eyes.
- Parents should use extra caution with children around fireplaces or other open flames. Candles should be kept out of the reach of curious children, as they can drip or splatter hot wax and burn children’s eyes if they get too close. He encourages parents to keep a screen in front of the fireplace and says that children should always be supervised while the fireplace is in use. All fireplace tools should always be kept out of the reach of children to prevent injury.
For more information about Dr. Sean Donahue and the Pediatric Cataract Initiative -- a partnership between the Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute and Lions Clubs International Foundation -- visit www.pediatriccataract.org.
About the Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute
The Bausch + Lomb Early Vision Institute is a program of the global eye health company focusing on children's vision research, treatment, prevention and advocacy. Founded in 1853, Bausch + Lomb is one of the best-known and most respected healthcare brands in the world, with its contact lenses and solutions, ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, and ophthalmic surgical products available in approximately 100 countries. For more information, visit www.bausch.com.
About Lions Clubs International Foundation
Lions Clubs International Foundation is the grant-making body of Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest volunteer service organization. The LCIF SightFirst program, Lions’ flagship initiative, builds comprehensive eye care systems to fight the major causes of blindness and care for blind and visually impaired persons. Since 1990, the SightFirst program has helped restore sight to more than 30 million people around the world. Lions have raised more than $415 million to provide surgeries, to improve of hundreds of eye care facilities and train of thousands of eye care professionals. For more information, visit www.lcif.org.