Now that kids are well into their fall athletics, it is time to revisit how to protect your child’s vision while participating in both outdoor and indoor sports.
Did you know that sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in water sports, basketball, baseball, and softball? And that eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States, most commonly caused by sports-related activities in school aged-children. Children under the age of 15 account for approximately 40% of all sports-related eye injuries.
These injuries can range from corneal injuries - scratches and lacerations on the surface of the eye. To potentially blinding injuries like an orbital fracture – broken bones around the eye. To a detached retina - when the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye is pulled out of place. Issues can arise even after the eye injury heals like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachments.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Pediatrics, every year within the United States, more than 42,000 sports-related eye injuries are reported. The good news is that 90% of these injuries can be prevented - with the use of appropriate protective eyewear.
Regular eyeglasses typically do not provide enough eye protection, primarily based on the level of activity. Take these forms of protective eyewear into account to avoid sports-related eye injuries:
- Wear Safety Goggles – Also known as lensed polycarbonate protectors. These are the most useful for racquet sports and basketball. Look for the label ASTM F803 approved – a must! Contact lenses & eyeglasses won’t cut it. These safety goggles should be worn over them.
- Polycarbonate Face Shields – These protect kids in youth baseball and softball sports by adding these face shields to batting helmets.
- Hockey Face Shields – Play hockey? Make sure the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association approves the helmets and face shields used in this sport.
Remember, protective eyewear made of ultra-strong polycarbonate material is ten times more impact resistant than other plastics.
Most youth sports leagues don’t require the use of eye protection. Thus, it is the responsibility of both parents and coaches to ensure their athletes’ eyes are adequately protected when they play.
Stop into any local Nationwide Vision to have your little athletes fitted for the appropriate protective eyewear. To schedule an appointment, find a location near you or call 1-800-EYECARE.