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‘Tis the season to avoid eye injuries!

Corks, carbonated drinks, Christmas decorations and toys... these are just some of the things you need to be cautious of this festive season - and you'll never guess why!
Corks and carbonated drinks

Did you know a ‘popping’ cork can travel up to 80 kilometres per hour, with enough force to shatter glass? Imagine what the aftermath would be if it heads in the direction of an eye.

Associate Professor Colin Chan, a specialist in refractive, cataract and corneal surgery, speaks about eye injuries during the festive period.

“A champagne cork is the perfect size and shape to damage an eye. Add to that an enormous explosive force behind it and the results can be extremely serious. Over the holiday season people are distracted. It feels like the ‘festive’ thing to open the bottle of champagne in front of everyone,” Dr Chan says.

But it’s not just the person who is trying to open the bottle who may be in harms way: 25% of patients in the study were ‘innocent bystanders’.

Decorations

Yes, it may sound odd, but glitter from a Christmas ornament can scratch the surface of the eye. Glass tree ornaments are just as dangerous as any other glass objects.

“We don’t want to take away the lovely Christmas spirit 'glitter' can bring, we are just saying to be aware of the dangers,” Dr Chan says. “Ensure that glass ornaments and other decorations are placed high in the tree and well out of reach of little ones.”

Toys

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 250,000 toy related injuries affect children each year. Toys with sharp, pointed spikes and corners, or anything that can propel foreign objects are of the most concern.

Play guns and paintball guns are especially perilous, but even something as simple as glue or paint can cause damage. Common injuries include corneal abrasions, ocular hyphema and traumatic cataract, which may require eye surgery.

Festive tips for eye safety

  • Don’t unscrew the safety wire of the cork until the bottle is pointing well away from people.
  • Don’t pop the cork – gently twist it, or put a towel over the cork as you are doing this.
  • Don’t open a bottle near a wall – a cork can ricochet off a surface and propel itself into an eye.
  • Avoid buying any toy with protruding or sharp parts, or ones that have a projectile element.
  • Put ornaments with lots of glitter higher on the tree.
  • Ensure that all glass balls, ornaments and decorations with protruding points (like a star or an angel) are placed well out of the reach from children.

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