By: Dr. Amber Teten – Chesapeake Pediatric Eye Doctor
As the weather gets warmer and children start participating in outdoor sports activities, keeping their eye safety in mind is important. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 40,000 sports-related eye injuries occur in the United States annually, and many of these injuries can be prevented. Sports-related eye injuries are prevalent in children who may not understand the importance of protective eyewear or may not have developed the necessary reflexes to protect their eyes.
We at Navigation Eye Care understand the importance of preventing eye injuries in children. Dr. Teten, a pediatric eye doctor, will share tips to help parents and coaches avoid eye injuries while children play sports. From wearing protective eyewear to teaching proper technique and being aware of the risks associated with each sport, we will cover everything parents and coaches need to know to keep their children’s eyes safe during sports activities. By taking the necessary precautions, parents and coaches can help ensure their children enjoy sports activities safely and without the risk of serious eye injuries.
Wearing Protective Eyewear
Wearing protective eyewear is one of the most effective ways to prevent sports-related eye injuries in children. Dr. Teten recommends parents and coaches encourage their children to wear protective eyewear during sports activities, even during practice. Protective eyewear is designed to protect the eyes during physical activities and sports. Many sports have specific types of eyewear designed for them. It’s important to ensure that the eyewear fits properly and is comfortable for the child to wear, as this will encourage them to wear it consistently, reducing the risk of eye injury. Parents and coaches can set an example by wearing protective eyewear themselves during sports activities, reinforcing the importance of eye safety to their children.
Knowing the Risks of Each Sport
It’s important to be aware of the specific risks of each sport to prevent eye injuries in children. Dr. Teten recommends that parents and coaches research the potential eye injury risks associated with their children’s sports. For example, sports like basketball and baseball have a high risk of eye injuries from flying balls. In contrast, sports like soccer and football have an increased risk of eye injuries from collisions with other players. Knowing the specific risks associated with each sport can help parents and coaches take the necessary precautions to prevent eye injuries. This may include choosing the appropriate protective eyewear for the sport or teaching children proper techniques to avoid potential eye injury risks.
Keeping Sports Equipment Safe
Sports equipment, such as balls, bats, and sticks, can cause serious eye injuries if used improperly. Coaches and parents should ensure that sports equipment is in good condition and properly maintained.
For example, baseballs should be inspected regularly for cracks and replaced when necessary. Bats and racquets should be stored in a safe place when not in use to prevent accidents. Additionally, coaches and parents should ensure children use the appropriate equipment for their size and age.
Teaching Proper Technique
Teaching children proper technique is essential to preventing eye injuries during sports activities. For example, when playing baseball, children should be taught to keep their eyes on the ball and turn their heads away if they can’t see the ball clearly.
Similarly, soccer children should be taught to use the proper technique when heading the ball to prevent accidental contact with another player’s head or face. Coaches and parents should work with children to teach them the appropriate technique for their sport and reinforce good habits consistently.
Supervision During Play
Parents and coaches should always supervise children during sports activities to ensure their safety. A responsible adult should always be present, ensuring that children wear protective eyewear and follow proper techniques. Additionally, coaches and parents should be alert for signs of fatigue, dehydration, or other symptoms that a child may be at risk of an eye injury. Suppose a child shows signs of discomfort or injury. In that case, they should be removed from play immediately and examined by a pediatric eye doctor.
Knowing What to Do in Case of an Eye Injury
While taking preventive measures is crucial in avoiding eye injuries in children during sports activities, it’s also important to know what to do if an eye injury occurs. Dr. Teten, a pediatric eye doctor, recommends that parents and coaches educate themselves on basic first aid for eye injuries. This may include knowing how to remove foreign objects from the eye and how to flush the eye with clean water. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately if an eye injury occurs. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but can cause serious long-term damage. Parents and coaches should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of eye injuries, such as blurred vision, pain, and sensitivity to light. By being prepared and knowing what to do in case of an eye injury, parents and coaches can help ensure that their children receive the appropriate medical attention and treatment needed, from a pediatric eye doctor like Dr. Teten, to prevent long-term damage preserve their vision.
As the weather gets warmer and children start participating in outdoor sports activities, it’s important to prioritize their eye safety. By following the tips we’ve discussed, parents and coaches can help prevent sports-related eye injuries in children. From wearing protective eyewear to being aware of the risks associated with each sport and knowing what to do in case of an eye injury, taking the necessary precautions can help ensure that children can enjoy sports activities safely and without the risk of serious eye injuries. As a pediatric eye doctor, Dr. Teten understands the importance of protecting children’s vision and overall eye health. We hope we provided valuable information for parents and coaches. We encourage everyone to prioritize eye safety during sports activities this season.
Suppose you have a child getting ready to participate in sporting events. In that case, we encourage you to have your child evaluated by a qualified pediatric eye doctor to get all of your eye care questions answered in preparation for the sporting season. Dr. Teten encourages parents to bring their children in for regular eye exams and at times when the parent may have concerns related to their eye health. Call the Navigation Eye Care team at 757-529-6889 or schedule an appointment online. We are fully equipped and prepared to care for you and your family.