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An accident or injury can happen at any time in every sport available to your children. There are nearly 50,000 reports of sports related eye injuries each year, which can scare a lot of parents out of wanting their kids to play. It’s important to understand that although the risk of eye injury is higher during sports activities, these injuries can happen anywhere.
While you can’t prevent every eye injury your children may encounter, there are things you can do to minimize the risks to your family.
Not every sport has the same risk of eye injury.
Contact sports such as wrestling, martial arts, and boxing have the largest risk of injury due to the minimal protection equipment and nature of the activity. A child may be poked or punched in the eye during these high risk activities.
Sports that involve flying objects such as basketball, baseball, and water polo have their risks of eye injury.
Basketball, baseball and softball are actually the leading causes of sports injuries to the eye for children – with the high risk of being hit in the face, damaging the eye or area around it.
Eye injuries during sports are usually blunt force – sometimes causing no damage, or something minimal like a black eye. More extreme injuries can result in bleeding in or around the eye – or possibly a break or fracture to bone beneath the eyeball known as an Orbital Blowout Fracture. In rare cases, blunt trauma can cause a detached retina or lacerations risking vision loss.
A penetrating injury is especially dangerous for vision and you should have a child’s eyes examined if something enters an eye – not all bleeding is visible and these injuries are at the highest risk of permanent damage and infection. An eye infection is always a possibility after an eye injury occurs.
A great majority of sports related injuries can be prevented with safety equipment and awareness. Most sport activities have established recommendations for protective eye wear. You can always invest in a protective pair of sports glasses or goggles as an additional safety measure for your children.
It’s important to consider the risk of eye injuries for children who participate in high risk sports with an existing vision issue. We recommend having a vision test and eye exam before signing your children up for sports.