-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Swimming pools are a major
reason why children's eye injuries increase in the summer,
according to an expert.
Eye injuries among youngsters start to rise in May and June
before peaking in July. They then fall off in September after
school begins, according to Gerald McGwin Jr., a professor in the
epidemiology and ophthalmology departments at the University of
Alabama at Birmingham.
"Overall, the leading cause of eye injury in children 15 and younger is sports, specifically swimming," he said in a university news release.
Pool chemicals, which can cause eye irritation, are a common
cause of eye injuries.
"Ensuring that a pool's pH level is within normal range is one way to reduce these injuries," McGwin said. "Goggles and swim masks are another way by providing a barrier between eyes and water."
Other causes of pool-related eye injuries include being hit by
water toys or by elbows and feet.
Household chemicals and cleaners are another cause for concern
and account for 30 percent of eye injuries suffered by children
younger than age 2. "The obvious solution for parents and
caregivers is to keep dangerous chemicals and substances locked up
or out of the reach of children at all times," McGwin said.
Other ways to reduce eye injuries include having children of all
ages wear eye protection when playing sports and keeping children
away from sparklers, firecrackers or any other types of
The good news is that the number of eye injuries among children
15 and younger in the United States is declining, McGwin said.
Reported eye injuries fell from a high of more than 80,000 in 1992
to a low of about 50,000 in 2010.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has more about the
prevention and care of eye injuries in
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