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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cholakova

Eye Safety for Children During Sports and Outdoor Activities

Every parent wants to keep their children safe and healthy. Eye safety for children, however, is often overlooked when it should be a priority. The eyes are some of the most delicate parts of the human body and they are susceptible to serious physical damage.

The natural curiosity of children is a wonderful thing, as they are eager to explore the world around them. But this also puts them at risk of eye injuries. Whether your child is playing sports or simply spending time outside, it's imperative to protect their eyes.

Here are some essential eye safety tips for children.

Table of Content:

Eye Safety for Children 101

Wear Protective Eyewear

If your child is involved in sports, make sure they wear protective eyewear, such as goggles, or a face shield. This would prevent potential eye injuries from flying objects, falling down, or accidental collisions.

Here is why your child needs to wear protection when playing sports:

  • Preventing eye injuries

  • Preventing long-term vision damage

  • Ensuring proper eye safety for children

  • Setting a good example

  • Compliance with sports regulations

Swimming goggles child eye safety

Eye injuries from sports typically have long-term consequences on a child's vision. A serious injury can result in permanent vision loss or visual impairment. Unfortunately, sports-related eye injuries are a vastly common occurrence among children.

The injuries could range from minor scratches and bruises to more serious eye conditions - corneal abrasions, fractures, and even blindness.

Many sports like basketball, soccer, and hockey involve high-speed balls, racquets, bats, sticks, or other objects that can pose a risk to the eyes. Wearing protective eyewear designed for the specific sport minimizes injury risk by providing a physical barrier to protect the eyes.

Furthermore, enforcing the use of protective eyewear sets a good example and instills the importance of eye safety for children. When parents, coaches, and other adults demonstrate the use of appropriate protective gear during sports activities, children are more likely to follow.

Protective eyewear during sports not only protects the eyes but also ensures compliance with league and sports regulations. That promotes a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants. Look for eyewear that meets international safety standards. This is the right way to ensure optimal eye safety for children.

Use Sunglasses as a UV Protector

Sunglasses protect your child's eyes from the sun's ultraviolet rays! Look for sunglasses with 100% UV protection (UV400 sticker). Ensure they are the right fit and size so they feel comfortable to wear. This is particularly relevant for children who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as at the beach or on the playground.

Appropriate sun protection is crucial for eye safety for children, here is why:

  • Reducing the risk of UV-related eye damage

  • Preventing discomfort and eye strain

  • Establishing healthy sun protection habits

Sunglasses child eye safety at the beach

The sun emits UVA and UVB rays, which are harmful to the eyes. Especially for children whose eyes are still developing. Long exposure to UV radiation without proper sun protection can increase the risk of certain eye conditions.

Moreover, sun glare causes discomfort and eye strain during outdoor activities. Thus, making it difficult for children to enjoy their sports or playtime. Wearing sunglasses with polarized lenses reduces glare, improves visibility, and enhances visual comfort for a safer time outside.

Just like other sun protection measures (e.g. applying sunscreen or wearing hats), wearing sunglasses becomes a routine practice for children when you introduce them to it at an early age. This sets a foundation for lifelong eye protection habits and promotes overall eye health.

Teach Proper Hygiene

When playing outdoors and engaging in sports children are often exposed to pathogens and viruses. Putting their safety first is key to healthy eyes. Check out the reasons why child hygiene is so essential during sports and outdoor activities:

  • Preventing the spread of germs

  • Reducing the risk of injury

  • Teaching healthy habits, along with eye safety for children

Child hygiene for eye safety

Being an active child often involves contact with various surfaces, equipment, and other individuals.

During sports and playtime, children come into contact with germs, dirt, and other contaminants. Those may be present in the environment or on shared equipment. Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands before and after playing, can prevent the spread of germs and reduce the risk of eye infections and eye problems.

Other good hygiene practices, for example, keeping nails short and clean, reduce the risk of eye injury and promote safer play. After all, with long nails, it is easy to scratch or injure oneself or others during physical activities.

Encouraging hygiene practices during outdoor play and sports helps children develop healthy habits to carry into adulthood. Establishing routines and behaviors that promote their general health and eye health from an early age is invaluable.

Don't Skip Eye Exams

Regular pediatric eye exams and vision screenings are putting eye safety for children first. They help detect vision problems early before they become serious and when they are most treatable. There are also several additional reasons why kids should not skip eye exams and why eye safety should be a priority for parents and caregivers.

Here are the key points to consider:

  • Early detection of eye problems

  • Preventive care for refractive errors

  • Academic success

  • Learning about children's eye safety from doctors

Pediatric eye exams

Many eye conditions, such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), and refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism), can develop during childhood. And they may not present noticeable symptoms.

Moreover, good vision is crucial for academic success. Children rely heavily on their vision to learn, read, write, and participate in classroom activities. Failure to diagnose vision problems can negatively impact a child's ability to perform well in school and reach their full potential.

Eye exams also provide an opportunity to educate yourself and your little ones about eye safety for children. Visits at the doctor's allow ophthalmologists to discuss risks and provide guidance on how to protect eyes from potential injuries.

Be Aware of Hazards

Keep an eye out for potential hazards in your child's environment. Sharp objects, chemicals, and even some household items or toys could be of harm. Take care that your child knows how to avoid these hazards and never plays with dangerous objects. This is a viable way to promote eye safety for children.

By following these eye safety tips, you can protect your child's eyes and ensure they stay healthy and happy. Remember, a little prevention goes a long way.

Learn more about your and your child's eye health in our ophthalmology blog.

All medical facts in this article are checked by Atanas Bogoev M.D.

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