How to Protect Kids from Eye Injuries in Sports

Thousands of children suffer eye damage or blindness from accidents every year.

Two kids playing soccer

Image source: Thinkstock

Warm weather is fast approaching and that means more outdoor sports and activities. That’s an excellent time to remind us to think about safety and how to prevent eye injuries in sports.

The highest risk sports for eye injury are baseball, basketball and racquet sports. Ice hockey, lacrosse, field hockey and soccer also pose higher risks for eye injury.

How can we protect our children’s vision and eye health?

  • In sports like baseball, hockey and lacrosse, a polycarbonate helmet with a protective face mask or wire shield should be worn at all times.
  • Protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses should be worn for sports such as basketball, racquet sports, soccer, and field hockey.
  • Children who wear glasses in any contact or racquet sport should talk to their eye care professional about safety lenses or other means to protect the eyes and maintain clear vision.

What to do in case of an injury?

Eye injuries, like head injuries, are not to be taken lightly. Delaying medical care can lead to permanent damage or loss of vision. Have a physician evaluate your child as soon as possible in the event of a serious eye injury.

While waiting to get medical care, follow these steps:

  • Try to keep your child calm and provide reassurance.
  • Do not try to remove any object stuck in the eye. Cover the eye loosely and seek immediate medical care.
  • Your child will most likely be more comfortable with their eye closed.
  • Do not apply any pressure to the eye.
  • Do not apply any eye drops or ointments to the eye.

Here’s a handy link to preventing eye injuries by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Stay well!