How to Keep Your Children’s Eyes Safe during Sports

You enrolled your children in sports so they could have fun and get exercise. You know this opportunity will help them build relationships and cultivate healthy habits, but you also worry that they could get hurt. As hockey pucks fly or players run into each other, you grit your teeth and cross your fingers, hoping your children will come out okay.


Most of the time, errant elbows or balls don't cause more than a bruise. However, if your children receive a poke or a blow to the eye, serious damage could result. Even a poke could cause vision impairment or blindness if it comes in at the wrong angle.


We don't want this to happen to your children. Your children deserve to have fun while they play – their favourite sport shouldn't turn into a permanent injury. As long as you follow the tips below, your children's eyes will stay safe during play.


Which Sports Require Eye Protection
Certain activities have minimal risks for your children's eyes. However, others involve significant risks. We've listed some of the riskiest sports below:


1. Hockey
As a Canadian, you practically have a patriotic duty to participate in hockey somehow. You may only watch it, or you may enroll your children in hockey. If you do, keep in mind that your children will endure the same dangers that professional players do. Pucks and hockey sticks will fly everywhere, and elbows, hands, and skates could hit your children's eyes as well. Make sure they have eye protection before playing.


2. Basketball
Like soccer, basketball has fewer risks because it involves a bigger ball. However, that ball can still cause trauma if it hits your child's face. And, as always, your children will have to deal with fingers, elbows, shoulders, and other body parts as they try to take the ball down the court.


3. Baseball
Baseball comes with almost as many risks as hockey. It involves a small, heavy ball that could easily damage eyes, and players use a bat that could also cause serious trauma. Baseball helmets do not typically have a visor but do well to protect the majority of the head. Consider customizing helmets for your child’s eye safety needs.


4. Boxing and Martial Arts
Extreme contact sports like boxing or martial arts also lead to many eye injuries. Elbows, fingers, fists, and feet could connect with eyes, leading to irritation or even permanent damage.


5. Swimming
Swimming doesn't involve flying equipment or elbows like other sports, but it does pose risks for your children's eyes. Germs and other microorganisms in the water could enter the eyes, or pool chemicals could cause irritation or even vision loss. Reflected UV rays could also sunburn your children's eyes.


What Protection Eyewear to Purchase
The type of eyewear you purchase depends on the sports your children play. Your options include:


Goggles: You'll need a simple pair of goggles for children who enjoy swimming. Your children can also wear goggles underneath masks when necessary. Make sure you get goggles with sturdy polycarbonate lenses.


Eye guards: If your children play basketball, soccer, tennis, racquetball, or badminton, you'll simply need eye guards, which are like goggles, but don't seal the way goggles do. Remember to purchase wraparound lenses for maximum visibility.


Masks: Intense sports like hockey, baseball, football, and boxing require a polycarbonate or wire mask over the entire face. You don't need goggles or eye guards with a mask unless small items could get through it (think of pucks or baseball bat splinters).


Don't worry about these protective items affecting your children's ability to play. The right eyewear won't create blind spots, and you can even get prescription goggles or guards. Visit your optometrist to get an up-to-date prescription, and then get protective eyewear for each of your children.


Even if your children feel silly wearing protective eyewear, they'll thank you later if an accident occurs. And if an accident occurs, remember to check your children's eyes for signs of trauma. If needed, take your children to see their optometrist. The optometrist will help their eyes return to optimal health as soon as possible.


Have additional questions? Check out our blog for more vision tips.

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