Oftentimes, conversations about pediatric eye care revolve around eye exams, vision tests, and glasses. But an often forgotten area is safety measures and protective eyewear. Children participate in a wide range of activities whether it be organized sports or informal play, and knowing how to best protect one of their most valued organs – their eyes – is essential.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, wearing proper protective eyewear can prevent 90 percent of all eye injuries. In fact, thousands of children suffer from eye injuries annually, some of which tragically result in blindness. The American Academy of Ophthalmology makes a number of recommendations for the proper safety measures parents can incorporate into their child’s pediatric eye care.
Pediatric eye health starts at home – literally. A popular myth is that most eye injuries occur in the workplace, but almost half of all eye injuries occur in the home. This number is likely higher when only young children are accounted for, since they spend most of their time living and playing at home. In fact, over 40 percent of these injuries occur while performing everyday activities like cooking and cleaning in rooms like the kitchen, living room, or bedroom. Additionally, eye injuries are not restricted to things like chemicals or dust or even objects. Children can sustain eye injuries by exposure to the sun. An important part of pediatric eye health – particularly in the summer – is limiting your child’s direct exposure to the sun by ensuring they wear sunglasses when they are playing outside.
The Eye Injury Snapshot, a study conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma, found that in 78 percent of cases of eye injury, those that were wearing some kind of eyewear were wearing no protective eyewear.
Different activities require different kinds of protective eyewear. For adults, protective eyewear that is ANSI-approved is good enough to keep your eyes safe. ANSI is the American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit organization whose mandate involves the development of industry standards by consensus. Most children are not involved in repairs around the home, so getting safety goggles is most likely unnecessary for your child’s pediatric eye care needs. Instead, sports eye protection is most likely the most relevant safety measure for a child’s pediatric eye care.
Three of the most high-risk sports for eye injuries across all ages are baseball, basketball, and racquet sports. When playing baseball it is recommended that children wear a helmet with a facemask made of a lightweight and shatterproof plastic or a wire shield. For optimal protection, check that your child’s hockey mask is approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council. Similar protective eyewear is also recommended for sports like basketball, racquet sports, and even soccer.
Stop by a Vision First Eye Center in Alabaster, Pell City, Trussville, or Birmingham to discuss your child’s pediatric eye care. We are also available to discuss your child’s eye health to determine which activities are best suited for their lifestyle. Give us a call and book your eye examination today!