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Eye Injuries Are Common in December
The holiday season is full of happiness and joy. Families get together, sharing gifts and massive, delicious meals with each other. It’s a joyous time of year for millions of people all across the country. While this time of year is full of excitement, far too many people fail to slow down. They aren’t as careful as they normally would be. They are constantly on the move, either finishing their holiday shopping or traveling. When people aren’t careful, accidents are far more likely to happen, especially eye injuries.
Most people are familiar with the scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie asks for a rifle BB gun but is told he’ll shoot his eye out. While this scene is played for laughs in the film, there is some truth in the scene. Eye injuries are far too common during the holiday season. Whether you are decorating your home, cooking dinner, or playing with toys, you need to practice eye safety tips to ensure you protect your eyes this holiday season.
The team at First Eye Care North Arlington handles a handful of eye emergencies and is prepared to help you if you experience any yourself. However, it is always better to be proactive, which is why we are here to provide you with some holiday eye safety tips.
Common Causes of Eye Injuries
Before we dive into how to properly protect your eyes this holiday season, we need to first go over some of the most common causes of eye injuries during this time of year. The holidays present new risks that aren’t as common during the rest of the year. While you come in contact with many of them throughout the year, they are far more present during December, increasing the likelihood of injury.
Christmas Trees & Decorations
The Christmas tree is one of the most important aspects of Christmas. It’s the focal point of every family’s home during the holidays. It’s where presents are kept and where the family gathers to celebrate the holiday. Decorating the tree is also considered a huge event for the entire family. It means that the holiday season has officially begun.
However, your Christmas tree and decorations can put your eyes in danger. The branches and pine needles can become lodged in your eyes if you were to fall forward into your tree. Some people even cut their own trees down. This can also be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
Many decorations are made of glass, so when they break, they can easily hurt your eyes. Children are often attracted to colorful and bright objects, so keep the glass and pointed ornaments out of your child’s reach.
This ties back into A Christmas Story. While this isn’t always an issue for most parents, toys can cause great harm to many children. In fact, one child is treated in an emergency room every three minutes due to a toy-related injury in the United States. Non-powder firearms like BB guns, pellet guns, and paintball guns are a common gift given out during the holidays. While the rate of injuries sustained by these guns has decreased, the number of eye injuries has actually increased, according to a study.
Toys with sharp edges or other projectile toys like NERF guns can also cause serious eye injuries to your children. The holiday season sees more toys than usual, so it’s understandable why the rate of eye injuries during this time is much higher.
Champagne & New Year’s Celebrations
Christmas isn’t the only popular holiday in December. Many people across the world celebrate the beginning of the New Year. For most people, a New Year’s Eve party isn’t complete without a little bit of champagne. While popping a bottle of champagne is exciting, it can also be quite dangerous. The cork used in champagne bottles can fly out at almost 50 mph. A flying champagne cork has even led to blindness in some cases.
While fireworks are more commonly used to celebrate the Fourth of July, many cultures across the world and in the United States use them to celebrate the New Year. If you do intend on using fireworks, follow the tips we provided during the Fourth of July to ensure your eyes stay protected.
Eye Safety Tips
Now that we’ve covered some of the most common causes of eye injuries over the holiday season, it’s time to go over the best practices you should engage in to protect you and your loved ones.
When decorating a Christmas tree:
- Always wear protective eyewear if you intend on cutting down your own tree
- Have everyone stand at a safe distance while you untie the tree
- Hang sharp, glass ornaments away from small children
- Trim the edges of your tree
- Make sure your lighting is safe and in good condition to avoid any breaking or exploding, which can send small shards into your eyes
- Don’t put gifts too far under your tree
When giving your children toys:
- Avoid buying your child projectile toys or toys with sharp objects
- Only purchase age-appropriate toys or toys that fit your child’s maturity level
- Supervise new toy use
- Explain how to properly use a toy before you let them play with it on their own
- Purchase protective eyewear to pair with certain toys
When opening champagne:
- Never point the bottle at anyone
- Keep the bottle at a 45-degree angle
- Hold the cork down when removing the wire hood
- Use a towel to prevent the cork from flying
Other holiday eye safety tips:
- Always wash your hands after preparing food
- Give your eyes rest if you intend on traveling long distances
- Wear the proper sunglasses when out in the sun
- Practice proper firework safety tips
The holiday season is an exciting time. It’s filled with family, friends, food, and gifts. While this is a time for joy, it can also be full of plenty of risks. It’s important to always be proactive in protecting your eyes over the holiday season. If you do experience an eye injury, however, contact First Eye Care North Arlington to seek treatment.