Despite all the things you do to keep your children safe—at home, on the playground and in the car—accidents happen. Each year, thousands of children visit emergency rooms and doctors’ offices with eye injuries.
Most eye injuries come from a handful of causes. Toys that are used inappropriately; falling into or off a piece of furniture; using tools and other common household objects incorrectly (such as running with scissors); aerosols and chemicals; and car accidents when children are not in safety seats. Taking proper precautions such as wearing goggles or safety glasses with side shields can help prevent eye injuries.
Regular sunglasses, eyeglasses and contacts do not protect children from eye injuries, and, in some cases, glasses can shatter and make an injury worse. However, most protective eyewear is customizable and can be made to match your child’s glasses or contacts prescriptions. Your child can also wear safety goggles over their regular glasses or contacts.
Protective eyewear is made of polycarbonate—a strong shatterproof and impact-resistant type of plastic. Polycarbonate lenses stand up to sudden, sharp impact. Many goggles or safety glasses come with tints to reduce sun glare and protect against ultraviolet (UV) rays as well. There are many different types of protective eyewear for sports, including safety goggles, face guards, and special eyewear designed for specific sports. Make sure that you’re using the right kind of eye protection for each activity. Choose eye protection that has been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
Eye injuries are one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, and most of these injuries occur while kids are playing sports. Wearing protective eyewear can prevent 90% of these injuries.
Sports deserve particular attention, as eye injuries happen often in young athletes between five and 14 years of age. All kids need protective eyewear while playing sports. Remember that ordinary prescription eyeglasses do not provide adequate protection—protective eyewear should be sport-specific.
Basketball, softball and baseball account for more eye injuries than other sports. Fencing, mountain biking, paintball, airsoft rifles, pellet guns, racquetball and hockey are also higher-risk sports. Helmets and the appropriate protective eyewear are a must for you and your child.
Because youth sports leagues don’t always require protective eyewear for players, it’s important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the risks and make sure your child wears protective eyewear to prevent serious eye injuries. Wearing protective eyewear may help to prevent nine out of 10 eye injuries.
The sun’s rays can be harmful to the eyes. Sunlight is strongest midday to early afternoon. Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light raises our risk of eye diseases and other issues. Sunlight is also stronger at higher altitudes and when reflected off water, ice or snow. Take simple precautions to keep your child's eyes safe outdoors during every season:
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