Prepare Kids for Sports with an Eye Exam

Children who play sports are at an increased risk for eye injury.

2 boys playing soccer outside

As each next sports season approaches, many children gear up to enjoy their favorite extracurricular activities. Basketball and other interactive sports are great ways to get children off the couch and outside, but these sports also increase the child's vulnerability to injury, particularly those that affect the eyes.

And the Windup

They can't play a sport if they can't see the field, the ball or other players. Children with poor vision can be more susceptible to eye injuries, simply because they cannot see. If your child wants to play sports, it is a good idea to have their eyes checked prior to the start of the season to make sure their vision is still good. If your child requires prescription glasses, talk to your optometrist about getting protective prescriptive eyewear, so your little slugger can not only see the ball coming, but can also avoid that nasty black eye.

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And the Pitch

Sports are undoubtedly one of the best ways to teach children good character building traits and keep them healthy, but few parents and coaches think about the ramifications of injuries, especially to the eyes. Optometrists suggest all children playing sports wear some sort of protective gear during games and practices, especially considering the more than 600,000 sports-related eye injuries each year.

A Swing and a Miss

While not all sports are high risk for eye injuries, a majority of them are. Sports, such as football, baseball, soccer, softball and even fishing, are notorious for eye injuries. Children can receive all sorts of accidental injuries, such as an elbow or ball to the face, which can severely damage the eye. More than 80 percent of children who play sports do not wear protective eye gear, and more than 90 percent of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented by protective eyewear.

It's a Full Count!

No matter the sport, your children's eye health and safety should be considered before any new sports program has begun. Get regular eye exams to ensure that the child's vision is good and there are no hidden congenital defects. Speak with your optometrist about protective eyewear for your little leaguer. Regular prescription glasses are not a good substitute. In fact, prescription glasses can do more damage to the eye than not wearing protective glasses at all.

Children 13 and under should always have impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses. The last thing a parent wants is for their child to be injured while doing something they love. Annual eye exams and protective eyewear are the most successful way to ensure that your child stays out of harm's way.