The festive season is now upon us and it is a great time of year, but while most people are preparing themselves for Christmas, hospitals, eye doctors and eye clinics are preparing for a rise in the number of eye injuries at this time of year. The majority of the common eye injuries during Christmas time are avoidable and here we will look at some of these eye injuries and how you can help prevent them and have an eye injury-free festive season.
The Christmas Tree
Putting up the Christmas tree is a tradition for many families, but whether you choose a real or fake tree both could cause potential eye injuries. If you like a real Christmas tree, make sure you wear eye protection, such as goggles, whilst cutting or trimming the tree as pieces can easily flick up and enter the eye causing painful eye injuries. When decorating your tree hang ornaments, especially glass ones or ones with pointy edges, higher so they are out of reach of young children to avoid poking their eyes or grabbing and smashing glass decorations, which can cause nasty eye injuries. When you place presents underneath the tree try not to put them too far back as you could hit or scratch your eye with a branch, and be careful when retrieving presents from under the tree for the same reason, especially if you get children to give the presents out on Christmas day.
If you have children then Christmas day can normally mean them setting up and playing with their new toys as soon as they can, and safety can normally go out the window, but toys cause the most eye injuries during the festive period. Toy related eye injuries can be easily avoided by an adult supervising them whilst playing with their new toys. Also try not to purchase toys with sharp edges or pieces than can shoot into the eyes such as Nerf guns. Lastly, make sure that the toys you buy are age appropriate for the children you plan to give them too. Younger children are not always aware of the dangers that can happen and the injuries toys can cause.
A lot of people are gifted new devices, such as tablets and phones on Christmas day and spending too much time looking at them can affect the eyes. The same can also happen when watching television or playing console games for a long time, which many people like to do on Christmas day. Digital eye strain which is caused by overuse of using these types of screens can cause irritated and dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches and no one wants that on Christmas day. Try to limit the time spend using devices, especially for children, and when using devices try the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and this should help with digital eye strain.
During the festive season many people attending parties, get-togethers and celebrating on Christmas day and New Year’s often like to have champagne or other sparkling drinks. The danger to eyes here is popping the cork, and an eye injury involving popped corks can be very serious and even sight threatening. When opening a bottle of champagne, or similar drink, make sure you point the bottle away from yourself and other people, when undoing the wire hold the cork down firmly. Once the wire if off, cover the cork with a towel and hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle and turn the bottle not the cork, you should then hear a gentle pop and the cork is out, and you are free to enjoy your drink eye injury-free.
Families and friends can be spread far and wide across the country and many people drive to see each other on Christmas day and during the festive season. Whilst driving safely itself isn’t going to cause an eye injury, some of the added stresses of winter driving can. The sun tends to be lower during the festive months causing road glare which can make driving more difficult, so having a pair of 100% UVA and UVB protection sunglasses to hand can ease this effect. It is also important to keep your windscreen clear when driving in rain or snow to avoid impairing vision and being distracted. Lastly, if you require glasses to drive safely make sure you wear them and don’t forget to take them with you.
To ensure you have a great festive season stick to the above eye tips to avoid any unpleasant eye injuries.
Merry Christmas And a Happy New Year from Us All at Eye Clinic London
Author: Samer Hamada is a distinguished consultant ophthalmologist and cornea surgeon performing eye surgeries at his practice, Eye Clinic London. With nearly two decades’ experience, Mr. Hamada is recognised as a leading expert in the field of cataract, refractive lens exchange (RLE) and corneal surgeries.
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