Shocking! The #1 cause of childhood blindness is preventable in 90% of cases.

Sports-related eye injury in children, Health Network News

Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in childhood – most occur due to sports-related injuries

SUMMARY: Eye injuries from sports are the #1 cause of blindness in kids. 90% of these injuries could have been prevented with the use of protective glasses or goggles.

Eye injuries, particularly from sports, are the number one cause of blindness in school-age children. Sadly, 90% of these injuries could have been prevented with the use of protective eyewear. The National Eye Institute (NEI) recommends that “protective eyewear should be part of any uniform because it plays such an important role in reducing sports-related eye injury.”

Eye injuries cost Americans more than $175,000,000 each year and account for approximately 100,000 physician visits.

What is protective eyewear?

First, let’s start with what is not protective eyewear: contact lenses, regular prescription glasses, or sunglasses ARE NOT protective against eye injuries.

Protective eyewear includes:

  • Safety goggles
  • Safety glasses
  • Eyeguards designed for a specific sport

Protective eyewear is specially made to protect the eye and is made of extremely strong polycarbonate, and is is far more impact resistant than other kinds of plastic. For children who wear contact lenses or glasses, protective eyewear can be made to match their prescription.

NOTE: It is critical that children who have previously had an eye surgery, eye injury, or have vision in one eye wear protective eyewear.

April is Sports Eye Safety Awareness month and we encourage all parents of student athletes to ensure that their kids wear protective eyewear during sports. It is important to note that most youth sports organizations DO NOT require children to use eye protection, so it is up to parents and coaches to insist upon their use. Adults can also be good role models and wear eye protection when they play, as well.

Resource: About Sports Eye Injury and Protective Eyewear, from the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

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