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Kids Health Information

Read additional pediatric health information in our health library.

Preventing Eye Injuries in Kids

More than 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented. Yet sadly, thousands of children (and adults, too) have eye damage or blindness from accidents at home, in the car or playing sports.

What Can Happen to the Eye?

Severe cases of eye injuries can lead to permanent vision loss. Many injuries can happen with kids sports and can include serious eye injuries such as:
  • Retinal detachment
  • Internal bleeding and inflammation in both the front and back of the eye
  • Injuries to the cornea with compromise to the integrity of the eye
  • Orbital bone fractures
  • Severe infections
The good news is most sports related eye injuries can be prevented using appropriate protective eye wear. Proper eye protection is available for a variety of sports including hockey, football, lacrosse and water polo, as well as racquetball, soccer and downhill skiing. Eye protection is also advised for those playing paintball.

In addition to sports, thousands of eye injuries can also occur from accidents at home, at play or in the car.

Causes of Eye Injuries in Children

Common household items can be life changing when they cause eye injury. Pay close attention, especially with young children. And if a toy is recommended for age 10+, don’t give it to your 5 year-old. Items that can cause problems include:
  • School/office supplies such as paper clips, pencils, scissors and rubber bands
  • Bungee cords
  • Wire coat hangers
  • Chemicals and sprays
  • Projectile toys such as darts, bows and arrows
  • Missile-firing toys
  • Recreational activities involving BB guns, as the BB pellets can penetrate the globe/eye and orbit and lead to serious blinding injuries
If an eye injury does occur, an ophthalmologist, primary care doctor, or emergency care physician should examine the eye as soon as possible. Delaying medical attention can cause the damaged areas to worsen and could result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

What to Do in Case of Eye Injury

If an eye injury occurs, seek medical help and keep in mind the following:
  • Do not touch, rub or apply pressure to the injured eye.
  • Do not try to remove any object stuck in the eye. For small debris, lift eye lid and ask child to blink rapidly to see if tears will flush out the particle. If not, close the eye and seek treatment.
  • Do not apply ointment or medication to the eye.
  • In the event of chemical exposure, flush with plenty of water for at least 10 minutes at home before seeking medical attention.

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