Sports Injuries: Are Your Child’s Eyes Protected?
By Dr. Angela Gulbranson, OD, Visions Eyecare and Vision Therapy Center
While most children are able to play sports safely there are those occasional accidents that highlight the need to take precautionary measures to protect your child’s eyes.
To give you a better idea of why this is so important, let me give you an example of two teenagers who had similar accidents with very similar results. They were both hit in their eyes with a ball. One was a soccer ball the other a softball. Both girls suffered the same injury, called hyphema, where the eye fills with blood. They had no vision out of their injured eye for about a week. This, of course, is a very serious injury and predisposes these girls for glaucoma (a sight threatening disease) for the remainder of their lives. Both injuries were completely avoidable had they been wearing sports safe eyewear.
Eye injuries can destroy an athlete's career or a child’s future. Therefore, if you or your child loves sports, you need to take important precautions. More and more professional athletes are recognizing the hazards and taking precautions to protect themselves. If you aren’t sure if sports eyewear is worth the investment, here are some facts to consider:
- More than 600,000 eye injuries related to sports and recreation occur each year.
- Over 85% of children do not utilize
protective eyewear in situations that represent a risk of eye injury.
- Every 13 minutes, a person with a sports-related eye injury visits an emergency room.
- Sports eyewear protects your eyes not only from injury, but from ultraviolet light as well.
Most people take the usual precautions when playing a given sport: helmets, knee pads, etc., but few take measures to protect their eyes. The sad part about eye injuries is that most of the damage is permanent, and most of the injuries could have been prevented.
It is important to keep in mind that sports goggles are separate and distinct from “fashion” or “dress” eyewear, because, everyday “fashion” eyeglasses are not held to the same protective standards as eyewear products labeled for protective sports use.Be smart and protect yourself and your loved ones, too. Sports goggles and swim goggles are available through most eye care professional offices. They are designed to meet all the safety standards and are available with prescription and non-prescription lenses.