Summertime is a busy season for sports and outdoor activities. Between taking the kids to the pool, getting them to soccer practice on time and making every T-ball game with equipment in tow, it can be easy to forget something.
When you’re packing up the swimsuits, cleats, uniforms, helmets, bats and balls, don’t forget to think about eye protection for your child.
Sports-related injuries are the most common eye trauma in children ages 11 to 14, with blunt trauma causing the majority of these injuries. Sports-related injuries can be minor, such as a black eye, or more serious, such as fractures to facial bones or even a ruptured eyeball. An eye injury as the result of blunt force trauma or impact to the eye can result in partial or total blindness.
The sports with the highest incidence of eye injuries are those with high-velocity ball action, including racquetball, tennis, soccer, golf, baseball, basketball, lacrosse and hockey.
In addition to blunt-force trauma to the eye, swimming also poses a risk to eye health. Bacteria in pool water, lake or ocean water can cause eye discomfort or even eye infection.
Despite these facts about eye injuries, few children wear eye protection while playing sports. Protecting your child’s vision is simple with these tips.
- Wear protective eyewear while playing sports. Goggles or even sunglasses made of polycarbonate lenses can protect the eyes from a sports-related injury. Polycarbonate is a shatter-resistant material, and polycarbonate lenses are 10 times stronger than other lenses, better able to withstand direct contact during sports like baseball. They are also the thinnest, lightest lenses available.
- Ensure eyewear meets safety standards. Polycarbonate lenses for athletes must be used with protectors that meet or exceed the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Each sport has a specific ASTM code. The lenses should either stay in place or pop outward in the event of an accident.
- Properly fit protective eyewear. Protective eyewear should fit comfortably yet securely, allowing the use of a helmet, if necessary. It should be padded or cushioned along the brow and bridge of the nose to prevent cuts in the event of a direct hit to the face.
- Wear UV protection. In addition to being shatter-resistant in the event of direct contact to the eye, polycarbonate lenses also filter 100 percent of ultraviolet light from the sun. This is an added bonus, as UV exposure can also damage the eyes.
- Wear goggles when swimming. The chemicals and pH levels in the pool can damage your eyes and bacteria in the water could cause an eye infection. Wearing goggles not only protects your eyes from what’s in the water, but goggles also help a swimmer to see more clearly under water.
Whether you’re suiting up your little one for a Little League game or you’re hitting the tennis court for some friendly competition, be sure you and your children have proper eye protection to prevent eye injuries this summer.