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Sports Eye Safety Is No Game
Sports Eye Safety Is No Game Information on Healthline
Your budding baseball star steps to the plate hoping to whack the ball -- but sometimes the ball whacks back.
Each year, thousands of children suffer sports-related eye injuries, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Sports is the leading cause of school-age children's eye injuries, but most of those injuries are preventable.
The AAO and the American Academy of Pediatrics say all kids in organized sports should be encouraged to wear appropriate eye protection. The AAO, in fact, urges mandatory eye protection in school or community-sponsored sports.
Baseball accounts for the biggest chunk of eye injuries from ages 5 to 14 -- about 21 percent. Basketball leads among 15- to 24-year-olds, accounting for 32 percent. Other high-risk sports: hockey, football, lacrosse, racquetball and soccer.
Although eye protection can't prevent every injury, the right gear is extremely effective. (Keep in mind that proper eye protection varies from sport to sport.) When Canada required amateur hockey players to wear face shields, eye injuries fell 90 percent.
What if your kids worry that they won't play as well -- or look as cool -- with eye protection? Tell them basketball greats Kareem Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy, along with football star Eric Dickerson, wore eye protection.
A vision for safety
Have children's eyes checked before sports participation. If they can't see, they can't duck the puck or duck the ball.
Pick the right eye guards. Each sport has its own kind, but what's most important is that the eye guards fit your child.
Buy prescription glasses made of polycarbonate plastic, which can withstand a projectile traveling at 90 mph.
For contact sports, choose eye guards or glasses with padding at the nose and brow.
Choose glasses with strong frames and secure them with a strap.
Ask your eye doctor about prescription sports eye guards.
Baseball: Polycarbonate face guard, which attaches to the helmet; sports eye guards
Basketball: Sports eye guards
Soccer: Sports eye guards
Football: Polycarbonate shield attached to faceguard; sports eye guards
Hockey: Wire or polycarbonate mask; sports eye guards