Children's Health and Wellness

Eye Care/Avoiding Eye Injuries

How to prevent eye injuries

Eye injuries affect more than 2.5 million people every year, yet 90 percent of these injuries are preventable with the use of appropriate safety eyewear. Consider these reminders from Prevent Blindness America and discuss these with your adolescent:

At home or outside:

  • Household products cause more than 125,000 serious eye injuries each year.

  • Wash your hands after using household chemicals.

  • Wear chemical safety goggles when using hazardous solvents and detergents, and do not mix cleaning agents around or near your child.

  • Turn spray nozzles away from your face and the faces of others.

  • Read and follow directions when opening bottle-tops (such as, wine or carbonated beverages).

  • Read and follow directions when playing games and operating equipment.

  • Provide lights and handrails to improve safety on stairs.

  • Keep paints, pesticides, and fertilizers properly stored in a secure area.

  • Be sure to wear recommended protective goggles, helmets, and safety gear during the appropriate activities.

  • Use guards on all power equipment.

  • Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing either a wide-brimmed hat or ultraviolet (UV)-protective sunglasses.

  • Never look directly at the sun (especially during an eclipse).

At play:

  • Each year, hospital emergency rooms treat nearly 40,000 victims of sports eye injuries.

  • Recommended protective eyewear should be worn during the appropriate sports and recreational activities.

  • A helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield should be worn during the appropriate sports.

  • Fireworks should be handled with care and only by adults.

  • Appropriate protective eyewear should be worn during sporting and recreational activities.

  • Protective eyewear should be worn when using lawnmowers, as debris may be projected into the air.

  • At school, it is important to wear protective eyewear when performing science or lab experiments.

What eye hazards may be associated with cosmetic use?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association, cosmetics are among some of the most common sources of problems for contact lens wearers. Misusing cosmetics can lead to severe adverse reactions, including the following:

  • Deposits on the lens

  • Eye irritation

  • Allergy

  • Injury

  • Infection

  • Dryness

What safety practices should take place?

There are safety measures for choosing, applying, and wearing cosmetics, which you should discuss with your daughter to help protect her eyes while wearing contact lenses. Make sure she abides by the following for safe use:

  • Choose unscented, hypoallergenic cosmetics manufactured by a well-known, trusted brand name.

  • Wash your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses.

  • Do not expose eyes to water while wearing contact lenses.

  • Do not borrow or lend your cosmetics to others.

  • Wash all makeup application brushes frequently.

  • Apply makeup after inserting the contact lenses.

  • Do not purchase mascara refills in which you insert your old applicator.

  • Avoid frosted, pearlized, iridescent, or other glittery types of eye shadow, which may contain ground oyster shells or tinsel.

  • Do not apply eyeliner to the inner edge of the lid or above the lash line on the lower lid.

  • Avoid using loose powder on the face.

  • Do not apply creams too close to the eyes.

  • Never apply eye makeup while in motion or while driving.

  • Do not use water or saliva to lubricate applicator or thin cosmetics.

  • Do not apply cosmetics if your eyes are red, swollen, or infected. If symptoms persist, an ophthalmologist or optometrist should be called.

Eye strain and computer use

The following are the most common symptoms of eye strain, which may be attributed to prolonged computer screen viewing. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Red, watery, irritated eyes

  • Tired, aching, or heavy eyelids

  • Problems with focusing

  • Muscle spasms of the eye or eye lid

  • Headache

  • Backache

Symptoms of eye strain are often relieved by resting the eyes, changing the work environment, and/or wearing the proper glasses. The symptoms of eye strain may resemble other eye conditions. Always consult your adolescent's doctor for a diagnosis.

How is eyestrain avoided?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has provided the following helpful suggestions for making the appropriate workstation modifications to help avoid eye strain:

  • Position the video display terminal (VDT) slightly further away than where you normally hold reading material.

  • Position the top of the VDT screen at or slightly below eye level.

  • Place all reference material as close to the screen as possible to minimize head and eye movements and focusing changes.

  • Minimize lighting reflections and glare.

  • Keep the VDT screen clean and dust-free.

  • Schedule periodic rest breaks to avoid eye fatigue.

  • Keep the eyes lubricated (by blinking) to prevent them from drying out.

  • Keep the VDT screen in proper focus.

  • Consult your adolescent's ophthalmologist or optometrist, as some individuals who normally do not need glasses may need corrective lenses for computer work.

Online Source: American Academy of Ophthalmologyhttp://www.aao.org/newsroom/upload/Eye-Health-Statistics-April-2011.pdf
Online Source: American Academy of Ophthamologyhttp://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/eye-injuries-home.cfm
Online Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administrationhttp://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/components_monitors.html
Online Source: Prevent Blindness Americahttp://www.preventblindness.org/eye-safety-home
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: Bogus, William J., OD, FAAO
Online Medical Reviewer: Grantham, Paula, RN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/25/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.