Most adults are aware of the need to protect their eyes when involved in sports like raquetball and basketball, but often children are forgotten when it comes to eye protection for their sporting activities. There are plenty of times when protective eyewear is indicated for prevent eye injury and vision loss. Let’s review them sport by sport.
Football, baseball, and soccer all pose a risk of eye injury to your child. Finger pokes are the biggest culprit. To protect the eye for these sports, use snug fitting sports goggles with lenses in them. Avoid sports goggles that do not have lenses – they have small openings intended to keep a ball from the eye, but offer little protection from the more likely ‘attack’ from someone’s finger.
Football is also a contact sport, but other sports like martial arts and wrestling get overlooked. With martial arts, there is a high potential for a direct hit to the eye. In most settings, martial arts are designed to be practiced safely, but accidents do happen.
In addition, wrestling has a fairly high incidence of eye injury. Hard hits to the floor or head to head hits can cause damage to the retina, but more often the concern here is finger pokes to the eye which can be avoided with sports eyewear. For football, martial arts, and wrestling sports eyewear with lenses is the best way to go. Be sure to take along any headgear or helmets worn during the sport, so the optician can find eyewear that fits comfortably while wearing the helmet, or headgear.
The risk of trauma to the eye from swimming is not an issue. But chronic exposure to the chemicals used to treat the swimming pool is. For the occasional play around in the pool, inexpensive goggles meet the need. However for competitive swimmers, the chemicals take their toll on the surface of the eye. Investing in a good pair of swim goggles is a must for the competitive swimmer. For swimmers who also wear prescription eye wear, consider using single-use contact lenses or have your child’s prescription put in the swim goggles.
And for the Adults….
Yes, this article is intended to educate on the need for sports protection for children, but adults need protection, too. Tennis, Raquetball, and Shooting are common sources of eye injury in adults, so protect your eyes as well. For more information, visit the American Optometric Association website.