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Top 4 Most Unexpected Holiday Eye Safety Risks

The holidays are an exciting time when we gather with friends and family to enjoy each other’s company and to take part in some of our favorite traditions.

Unfortunately for some, the holidays bring other surprises—including last minute trips to the doctor or emergency room.

Eye-related injuries tend to increase during the holidays.

Here are the top 4 most unexpected holiday eye safety risks and how to prevent them.

  1. Christmas Tree Branches and Needles

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While you’re “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”, those branches and spiny pine needles can be an accident waiting to happen. If you are trimming the tree, make sure to wear protective glasses.

If putting gifts under the tree, try to not put them too far back and out of reach. Eager children may risk poking their eyes as they crawl under the tree to get their gifts.

  1. Setting Up Decorations

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Some people go to great lengths to spread holiday cheer with decadent indoor and outdoor decorations.

If putting up lights, make sure to check each strand of lights for frayed wires and broken sockets. Christmas lights can pop and send tiny shards of glass near your face.

If putting up glass ornaments, keep them out of reach of small children. Also, keep your hands clean. Don’t let glitter or any other product find its way into your eyes.

  1. Age-AppropriateToys

ec3426da5e2a90bb8c828f163a074628 279×300When Ralphie asked for an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred Range Model Air Rifle, he was met with the famous line:

Data from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that 173,300 children under the age of 12 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2014. (i)

Propulsion toys like slingshots, paintball guns, foam dart guns, and pellet guns can cause serious injury to the eyes if used without caution.

Provide appropriate eye protection to wear during use and have adult supervision. Buy age-appropriate gifts for your child.

Avoid gifts that have sharp or protruding edges. (ii)

4. Popping the Champagne

Every year, ophthalmologists see patients who have taken a cork to the eye while opening a champagne bottle.

Built up pressure inside the bottle can cause a cork to travel at a speed of over 50 mph. (iii)

Individuals hit in the eye can suffer serious eye damage including retinal detachment, bleeding, rupture of the eye wall, acute glaucoma, and even permanent blindness.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends these five tips to protect your sight while opening the bubbly (iii):

  • Chill sparkling wine and champagne to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or colder before opening. The cork of a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.
  • Don’t shake the bottle. Shaking increases the speed at which the cork leaves the bottle thereby increasing your chances of severe eye injury.
  • Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders and hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood on the bottle.
  • Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork.
  • Twist the bottle while holding the cork at a 45 degree angle to break the seal. Counter the force of the cork using downward pressure as the cork breaks free from the bottle.

Following these tips with help you keep the “pain” out of “champagne”.

From all of us at Family Eyecare Center, we hope your holiday season is filled with joy and happy memories with friends and family!



(i) U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2014.

(ii) Rise in Eye Injuries from Toy Guns Prompts Call for Careful Holiday Shopping, 2015.

(iii) Ophthalmologists Warn: Flying Champagne Corks Cause Serious, Blinding Eye Injuries Each Year, 2012.

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Do You Have Your Eclipse Glasses Yet?

Monday August 21st is approaching fast, which means people are ready to see the spectacular solar eclipse!

Where will YOU be? Are you in the path of totality?

Whether you will be seeing the total eclipse or even the partial eclipse, we have answered some of the questions you may be wondering:

What should I expect to see during a total solar eclipse?


The moon will pass between the sun and the Earth and, for just a few minutes, the moon will either completely or partially block out the sun.

If you are in the path of totality—stretching from Oregon to South Carolina—you will be able to see a total solar eclipse! For everyone else in the United States, we will at least see a partial eclipse.

How long will the total solar eclipse last?

It will last only about two minutes and 40 seconds, so be ready!

When was the last total eclipse? Will there be others in the future?

There was a total eclipse was in 1979, but the last coast-to-coast eclipse similar to the one coming up occurred on June 8, 1918. Almost 100 years ago!

North America is expected to have another total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

What should I do to prepare?


If you are headed into the path of totality, know that there will be heavy traffic. Estimates predict between 1 and 7.4 million people are traveling to these states to see the eclipse!

Eye Safety During the Eclipse

How do I protect my eyes during the eclipse?


(Photo Credit:

Regular sunglasses are not adequate protection against the sun’s powerful light. The only way to safely view the eclipse is with a special pair of solar eclipse glasses. Eclipse glasses have specialized filters that minimize harmful UV, infrared, and visible light.

Only four manufacturers have met international standards for producing this product: American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

If you are in the path of totality, you can safely remove your eclipse glasses ONLY when the sun is completely blocked by the moon. This means there is no direct sunlight coming towards you. Once the sun’s light begins to peek through again, wear your eclipse glasses to avoid damage from the sun’s direct light.

If you will be viewing the partial total eclipse, wear eclipse glasses at all times.

Other Viewing Recommendations From NASA:


  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
  • Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.

What will happen to my eyes if I look at the sun too long?

Looking at the sun for too long can cause solar retinopathy, which refers to the damage of the light-sensitive tissues of the retina. Symptoms may not be immediate, but can include sore, watery eyes; objects appearing distorted; discomfort with looking at bright lights; and a blind spot in your central vision.

You can also get photokeratitis, which is caused by overexposure to UV rays. Think of it like a sunburn for your eyes. While not permanent, photokeratitis can be painful.

Where can I buy solar eclipse glasses?

eclipseglassesMany vendors are selling eclipse glasses, but know that not all are created equally. Beware of scammers. Make sure the glasses say they are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.

For your convenience, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) has compiled a list of reputable sellers of eclipse glasses.



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4th of July Firework Safety Tips


Happy Independence Day, America!

While the 4th of July is certainly one of America’s most celebrated holidays, there are a startling number of firework-related accidents that occur each year:

7600 firework-related injuries were treated in emergency departments across the country between June 18th and July 18th 2016.(CPSC, 2016)

Over 9% of these injuries were to the eyes, including scratched corneas, embers and debris in the eye, lacerations, and burns.”(CPSC, 2016)

While some recover quickly, others suffer permanent damage.

Amy White shares her experience of losing her left eye after being hit by a firework.

5 Ways To Prevent Eye Injuries

Enjoy the festivities of this holiday, but do it safely! Here are a few firework safety tips to keep in mind.

  1. Opt to attend a professional firework show.
  2. Do not let children play with fireworks, and do not leave them unattended.
  3. Wear protective glasses if lighting fireworks or even if a bystander.
  4. Stay a safe distance away.
  5. Do not try to relight a firework that did not go off.

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What Do I Do If A Fireworks-Related Eye Injury Occurs?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends:

  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Do not rub your eyes
  • Do not rinse your eyes
  • Do not apply pressure
  • Do not remove any items stuck in eye
  • Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen

We hope you all have a safe and fun holiday this year!



American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Fireworks Eye Safety.

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 2016 Fireworks Annual Report.


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