Five Tips to Avoid Toy-Related Eye Injuries

The South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges the public to shop and celebrate with an eye on safety

Columbia, SC – December 2017 – With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, The South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding the public of certain safety guidelines when choosing the perfect gifts for little ones in their lives. A number of recent studies have shown that some popular toy types are commonly associated with childhood eye injuries. These include air guns and other toys that shoot projectiles, high-powered lasers, and sports equipment.

Ophthalmologists – physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care – treat the eye injuries that sometimes result from these products. The Academy is encouraging parents to follow these tips when gifting toys to children this holiday season.

1. Beware of airsoft, BB guns, and other projectile toys. Every year ophthalmologists treat thousands of patients with devastating eye injuries caused by seemingly safe toys. Avoid items with sharp, protruding or projectile parts such as airsoft guns, BB guns and other nonpowder gun–related toys. Foreign objects can easily propel into the sensitive tissue of the eye.

2. Never allow children to play with high-powered laser pointers. A number of recent reports in the United States and internationally show that children have sustained serious eye injuries by playing with high-powered lasers (between 1500 and 6000 milliwatts). Over the years, these lasers have become increasingly more powerful, with enough potential to cause severe retinal damage, with just seconds of laser exposure to the eye. The FDA advises the public to never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone and to not buy laser pointers for children.

3. Read labels for age recommendations before you buy. To select appropriate gifts suited for a child's age, look for and follow the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use, and supervision.

4. Don't just give presents. Make sure to be present. Always make sure an adult is supervising when children are playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.

5. Know what to do (and what not to). If someone you know experiences an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. As you wait for medical help, make sure to never to touch, rub, apply pressure, or try to remove any object stuck in the eye. If an eye injury occurs follow these important care and treatment guidelines.

“When the gift-giving and celebratory spirit of the holidays is in full swing, we can forget how easily kids can get injured when playing with certain toys,” said Jane C. Edmond M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.” We hope people will take steps to shop and play responsibly this year. Following these tips can help make sure our little loved ones have healthy vision for many holiday seasons to come.”

For more information on toy safety, see the American Academy of Ophthalmology's toy safety page or watch the toy safety video.

About the South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology
The South Carolina Society of Ophthalmology (“SCSO”) is one of the nation’s most recognized and nationally acclaimed State Eye Societies comprised of Eye Physicians and Surgeons specializing in the medical eye practice area of ophthalmology. The South Carolina Society has been recognized repeatedly for its Patient Advocacy programs and its State Physician Leadership, and its Executive Director has received multiple National Awards of Excellence from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The current president of the SCSO is Edward G. Mintz, MD, PhD, of the Columbia Eye Clinic, and the current Vice –President is Trey Bishop, MD, of Hilton Head. Blake Myers, MD, of Jervey Eye Group serves as Chairman of the Legislative Committee and the Fellows Council with Malcom Edwards, MD, of Lancaster Eye serving as Secretary -Treasurer. Jack Wells, MD, of Palmetto Retina serves as Public Information Chair with Kurt Heitman serving as the national chair of the AAO State Affairs Committee and Todd Gwin, MD of Spartanburg serving as the State Councilor. Ron Scott, JD, MBA, M. Acct., serves as the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit