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While enjoying the holidays, also play it safe with proper eye protection

By Judith Whitehead

Special to The News

December, Eye Safety Awareness Month, is a busy time for celebrating many holidays, including Christmas and Hanukkah.

Along with these holidays come many things that potentially can damage the eyes.

Every year, our ophthalmology office gets calls involving eye injuries from putting up and taking down Christmas trees. Wearing eye protection is always a good idea while doing that – and when putting up and taking down holiday decorations.

Buying age-appropriate toys for children is always a safe way to protect children from eye and other injuries.

Despite the many warnings on packaging for toys and holiday decorations, thousands of children are treated in an emergency room from toy-related injuries every year. Every year more than 251,000 injuries occur in the U.S. alone.

It's easy to forget eye protection in the excitement of the holidays but some advance thought about safety is important, Judith Whitehead says.

Many children get new bicycles for the holidays; remember to buy a helmet, too. Same goes when purchasing new skateboards and scooters.

Items such as glue and glitter used during the holidays can get easily rubbed into an eye.

When December rolls around, so does snow and ice. Wearing eye protection while shoveling and snowblowing is always a must to prevent abrasions and trauma to the eyes.

Every year, our eye practice sees at least one snowball fight injury and trauma to the eye that causes temporary, if not permanent damage, to the surface of the eye and the retina.

Take time to enjoy and celebrate the holiday season, while playing it safe when it comes to your eyesight.

Judith Whitehead, of East Amherst, is a certified ophthalmic technician.

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