Protect your children’s sight from sports injury
A child’s eyesight is a precious gift. So while you’re getting ready to take your children to soccer or hockey practice, make sure they have the proper equipment to protect their eyes from injury.
If a fast-moving ball, hockey puck — or even a teammate’s elbow — hits your child’s eye, it has the potential to cause damage.
A hockey puck can travel at 90-100 miles per hour.
A baseball can be thrown at 95-110 miles per hour.
A 12-year-old child can strike a racquetball at 80 miles per hour.
A seemingly minor trauma can be serious if eye penetration goes unnoticed or if secondary infection develops.
Emergency rooms treat about 20,000 sports-related eye injuries yearly.
Every year 40,000 children and young adults suffer eye injuries playing sports. Most injuries are between 5-24 years old; 44 percent are younger than 14.
Wearing appropriate protective gear (safety goggles/ glasses) reduces the risk of injury by 90 percent.
Eye injuries can cause vision loss or complete loss of an eye.
Parents can take steps to protect their children, said researcher, director of the Baptist Think First Injury Prevention Program. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend that children and teens wear appropriate eye protection for all sports and recreational activities, according to Protective Eyewear for Young Athletes: A Joint Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The best protective sports eyewear is made from polycarbonate. These products can be purchased at department or sporting goods stores. Prescription eyewear may be purchased through an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Make sure sports goggles or eyewear is ASTM (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) Impact Resistant. Polycarbonate is the material used in riot plastic shields and canopies for jet aircraft. It will withstand the impact of a .22-caliber bullet.
Wear sports eye protectors for baseball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey, racquetball, and squash:
A polycarbonate shield/ face guard is recommended for some sports, such as baseball, softball, and hockey (for goalies). These are designed to be a part of, or to be attached to, various sports helmets.
Sports goggles are unhinged protective eyewear with a molded frame and temple with prescription or nonprescription polycarbonate lenses with a center thickness of 3 mm. An elastic band secures the goggles to the athlete’s head.
Street-wear frames are sturdy daily-wear frames with a posterior lip to prevent inward displacement of the lenses.
Your child might protest wearing eye protection at first. But many professional athletes wear sports goggles these days, so it can even be considered vogue. In any case, protecting your child’s eyesight is what’s important.