Covid-19 ALERT

Unusual Eye Injuries

August is Children's Eye Health & Safety month, and we want to talk a bit about eye injuries and specifically, unusual eye injuries.

Girl with bandaged eye

If I’m honest, my husband and I are the crazy, over the top, protective parents that teachers and coaches hate. My hubby may have been described on more than one occasion as a Black Hawk Parent (taking the helicopter parenting to the next level). But when it comes to eye health and eye safety, frankly I think you can never go too far. We only get two eyes and being such complex organs they can be very difficult to repair should injury take place.

An emu egg eye injury!

When we think of eye injuries, we often think of blunt force trauma, tired or sore eyes from too much screen time, or perhaps getting soap in our eyes from shampoo that claims to be tear free! What we may not think about is eye injuries from some rather unusual penetrating objects. Have you ever gotten an emu egg in your eye and needed surgery to save your vision? A 10-year-old boy, here in Australia did!

Eye injuries due to foreign objects make up about 50% of eye injuries

Eye injuries due to foreign objects make up about 50% of eye injuries that present to the ER, according to a report by the Australian Institute of Health (AIH). About 92% of these are by accident, drawing to the fact that eye safety is important, and we may be too relaxed about it sometimes, considering often when vision is lost it cannot be restored. These types of eye injuries are mainly taking place at home, at school, and during sports.

Some unusual eye injuries

Some unusual eye injuries we have heard about or seen in the last few years are:

  • Birds – In Australia, getting swooped by a magpie is no laughing matter and has resulted in eye injuries.
  • Fishing hooks – this one hurts to think about.
  • Sticks – Running into a tree, getting jabbed by a wayward toddler and his stick, falling into the garden, sledding down a hill and into a bush, there are many ways to get a stick in the eye.
  • Cutlery – and apparently cutlery poking out of the dishwasher specifically is a big one, according to our ophthalmologist.
  • Scissors – A boy at my daughter’s school got accidentally stabbed with scissors in the eye. He was incredibly lucky that surgery managed to save his sight.
  • Pencil – Our ophthalmologist told us about a kid who was accidentally stabbed with a pencil and it went straight through his optic nerve – no way to fix it so he lost his sight forever
  • Paddling machine – A friend of ours was training on a board paddling machine at the surf club and one of the cords snapped and hit him in the eye. He lost his sight and eye and has a glass eye now.
  • And of course, the Emu egg – a 10-year-old boy was attempting to empty the egg, when the yolk blocked the exit hole, built up pressure and caused the egg to explode. A portion of the shell was lodged in his nasal retina and caused a laceration of the cornea. The boy underwent surgery initially, ran a course of medications both orally and topically and returned for another surgery 6 months later. His vision was able to be brought back to 20/30 in the eye.

It’s safe to say we need to protect our eyes in more situations then we may realise. This August, during Children’s Eye Health & Safety month, it’s a great time to think more intently about protecting our eyes and the eyes of our little ones. Think about your daily activities. Is there an area where you may be taking eye safety for granted?

When should we worry about protective eyewear?

  • When we are playing any sport that involves fast moving or pointy objects, anything that has the possibility to end of with an eye injury. You are probably safe with Chess (although that King can be a bit sharp!) but should always wear protective eyewear for ball sports or any sports that involve flying objects.

  • If you are working with chemicals, liquids, or materials, that if they got in your eye, could cause harm. This isn’t just for the scientists – if you have a pool you’d be using some pretty serious chemicals, so safety glasses would be a good option to think about.

  • When you are out in the elements it is important to protect eyes from debris on windy days, sand at the beach, UV rays from the sun and water when you swim. Sunglasses and swimming goggles are an easy and inexpensive way to protect your peepers.

  • With many of us spending more time at home lately, if you are engaging in DIY projects, it’s good to protect your eyes and the eyes of any little ones that may be watching on.

Your eyesight and the sight of your little ones is important.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Your eyesight and the sight of your little ones is important. While some injuries can be fixed through surgery, many will have life long lasting affects on vision.

For more info about great safety glasses for kids, head to our Guide to Sports Glasses for Kids.