Parenting Tips for Children’s Eye Safety Playing Sports

April 8th, 2008

Approximately 600,000 Americans suffer sports-related eye injuries every year¹, and approximately 43 percent occur in children younger than 15 years of age². If your child is signed up for tee-ball, baseball, softball, tennis or soccer this spring, a few simple steps can help protect them from becoming a statistic.

One big misconception is that “normal” eyewear is sufficient for your child to wear while playing sports. It’s not. Wearing the proper protective eyewear is important to fully protect their eyes, say the Oregon Optometric Physicians Association (OOPA) and American Optometric Association (AOA).

According to these groups, conventional frames and lenses don’t meet the minimum requirements for impact resistance in most sports, so even a small collision can easily turn into a sight-threatening injury. Sports-protective eyewear, on the other hand, is tested to meet rigid safety standards, and some have been independently verified and received the AOA Seal of Acceptance.

It’s also important to take your child for an eye exam before letting him or her play. These exams can detect vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, all of which can diminish your child’s performance on the field or court.

Many parents may not realize that the sport of paintball is especially dangerous to their child’s eyes. The size of the paintball and the velocity with which it’s projected make it particularly threatening. Participants and bystanders alike can sustain injuries from this popular sport.

Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury3, nearly all of which could be prevented by using the proper protective eyewear. Whether your child is playing for fun or for competition this spring, do all you can to ensure they play – and see – well.

Brad Smith is an optometric physician in Portland and a member of the Oregon Optometric Physicians Association. See an OOPA informational on kids’ sports vision.

Check out Parenting Tips for children’s safety at Childn’ Parent.

¹ Tri-Service Vision Conservation and Readiness Program, Eyes (Ears) and Workers Compensation

² U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

3 US Consumer Product Safety Commission

Entry Filed under: Child Safety

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