Avoiding Kids Eye Injuries During National Youth Sports Safety month

Did you know that April is National Youth Sports Safety month? Soon kids will start enjoying the spring sports season and summer camps. While it's nice to have kids active for the summer, it's not so nice to deal with sport related injuries.

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Every 13 minutes, a child goes to the emergency room due to a sports-related eye injury, particularly for sports with bats or airborne balls at eye level. Ouch!

According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 42,000 sports-related eye injuries occur each year, of which an estimated 90% could have been avoided. As a parent with a son who will soon start playing sport, I want to avoid as many injuries, whether eye or body related, as possible.

In an interview, Dr. Berman VSP Optometrist, discussed the importance of providing crucial eye protection for my son and other little athletes.

So, how can parents keep their kids’ eyes safe while playing sports?

To protect kids’ eyes, parents need to provide them with sports-certified, protective eyewear made specifically to withstand impact and provide UV protection.

When playing sports, especially high-risk games like basketball, baseball, lacrosse, field hockey, and tennis, kids should not wear regular sunglasses and prescription glasses. These types of eyewear may not have shatter proof lenses, and can be extremely dangerous if they are broken during play.

Protective eyewear is available with prescription lenses and can help your young athlete see their best on the field while keeping their eyes safe. And remember, even children who do not need correction lenses should have their eyes protected. Be sure to tell your optometrist during your child’s annual eye exam that he or she plays sports so they can be properly fitted.

What types of sport-related eye injuries can occur?

Every thirteen minutes, a child goes to the emergency room due to a sports-related eye injury.

Sports-related eye injuries can include:
  • corneal abrasions (painful scrape or scratch on the cornea);
  • inflamed iris;
  • fracture of the eye socket;
  • blunt trauma;
  • penetrating injuries;
  • traumatic cataract, causing blood to spill into the eye’s anterior chamber;
  • swollen or detached retinas;
  • blindness.
Paul Berman, OD, FAAO, practices at Focus Eye & Health in Hackensack, New Jersey. Dr. Berman has consulted for Head Start, preschool facilities, professional and Olympic athletic teams, sports protection and performance, and the Special Olympics. He specializes in vision therapy, ocular discomfort, and performance problems related to reading, computers, and sports.

To learn more about Dr. Berman visit www.focuseyehealth.com

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