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Nov. 29, 2011

Ophthalmologists Offer Toy-buying Tips to Keep Children's Eyes Safe this Holiday Season

Eye medical doctors urge parents to keep eye safety in mind when choosing gifts

SAN FRANCISCO – As the holiday season approaches, parents across the United States are making their lists for Santa in hopes of making a happy occasion for their youngsters. And while the little ones may know what toys are the most popular, they are ill-equipped to determine which ones can potentially be dangerous. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 250,000 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2010; nearly three quarters of those injured were children under age 15. A serious eye injury from a toy can ruin a family's holiday and, more seriously leave a child with permanent vision loss. During this holiday season, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding parents about the dangers that toys may pose to children's eyes and offers its top five tips on how to choose safe toys for gift giving.

  1. Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
  2. Make sure children have appropriate supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause injury.
  3. If you plan to give sports equipment, provide appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. Check with your local Eye M.D. to learn about protective gear recommended for your child's sport.
  4. Check labels for age recommendations and be sure to select gifts that are appropriate for a child's age and maturity.
  5. Keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.

"With so many toys being recalled or having the potential to cause injuries, many of my patient's parents are wondering what toys are safe," said David Wheeler, MD, pediatric ophthalmologist and clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "A good rule of thumb that I often share with parents is to choose a toy that is appropriate for their child's age, abilities, and their willingness to supervise their child's use of the toy. Being aware and thoughtful about what you are putting in your children's hands is the best preventative medicine."

For more information about keeping eyes healthy during the holidays and all year-round, visit Eye Smart, the Academy's public information website which provides information to the public about the importance of eye health. Through the EyeSmart program, ophthalmologists seek to empower people to preserve healthy vision, by providing the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons — Eye M.D.s — with more than 30,000 members worldwide.  Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org. The Academy's EyeSmart® public education program works to educate the public about the importance of eye health and to empower them to preserve their healthy vision, by providing the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries.

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