Your brave little soccer player stumbles down the field. You are on your feet - this could be the first goal of the year! Suddenly, a player from the other team comes out of nowhere to block the shot, and kicks that ball as hard as humanly possible. It all happens in slow motion: the kick…and then the ‘thud’as the ball connects with your brave little one’s face. The game ends with a black eye and a lot of tears, but you know it could have been much worse.
Whether it’s soccer, hockey, basketball or tennis, sports are a great way for children to get active, spend time with other children and learn sportsmanship. The trade-off is, these activities expose children to injuries and, unfortunately, eye injuries are extremely common. A lot of parents do not encourage their children to wear protective eyewear, even though that is the best way to protect kids from an eye injury.
Here are some tips to help you protect your child’s eyes:
All children should have protective eyewear. It doesn’t matter if they wear glasses or contacts, all children should be wearing eye protection when playing sports. Up to 90 per cent of all eye injuries can be prevented with the use of proper protective eyewear. Why take the risk?
Everyday fashion eyewear does not offer proper protection. Lenses should be made from polycarbonate materials because they provide the highest level of impact protection. Look for the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) logo on approved protective eyewear.
Make sure it’s a proper fit. Loose-fitting goggles or improperly attached sports shields will not offer proper protection. A doctor of optometry can help you find the best fit for your child.
Don’t forget UV protection. When children are playing sports outside, their protective eyewear should have UV-blocking lenses to prevent damage. They also diminish glare that can cause distractions or discomfort while playing.
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing protective eyewear. Working with an optometrist will help you ensure your child is getting the right type of protection and the eyewear fits properly. Making this precaution a part of your child’s annual eye exam will ensure their eyes stay safe as they grow.
If your child does suffer an eye injury, you can skip the long wait in the emergency room or doctor’s office and go straight to your doctor of optometry. Most optometrists will see you right away, and you don’t need a referral. Alberta Health Care covers treatment for eye-related emergencies, such as injuries or eye infections like pink eye. Annual eye exams are also covered for children up to age 19.
For more information and to find a doctor of optometry near you, visit optometrists.ab.ca/find-an-optometrist.
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