More than 12,000,000 kids in the United States today will suffer now and for the rest of their lives (absent miracles or medical breakthroughs) from all or partial loss of vision (blindness) due to an injury to their head and eyes. In fact, eye injuries are one of the major reasons for children in our country to loss their vision, and each year – including 2012 – it is estimated that thousands and thousands of kids will suffer eye injuries while playing sports and having fun.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, most eye injuries happen while playing baseball, basketball, or any kind of racquet sport (tennis, etc.) and the sad thing is: almost every single one of these eye injuries can be prevented if the players would simply wear protective eye gear according to the ophthalmologists.
“Unfortunately, most youth sporting leagues don’t require children to wear eye protection. That’s why we’re trying to raise awareness, and arming parents and athletes with the information they need to take care of their eyes during sports,” explains Dr. Aaron Weingeist in a news release of the AAO in its support of Sports Eye Safety.
Accordingly, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, Prevent Blindness America, has declared August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness month in an effort to encourage parents to learn about ways they can help protect their child’s vision.
For more on how to keep your child safe from eye injury, loss of vision, or blindness from playing sports at school, download a short overview of suggestions and advice prepared by the Vision Council and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education here.
Among other things, children playing any sport should be protected from eye injuries by :
- wearing protective eye gear (goggles, safety glasses, etc.)
- being involved in age-appropriate and size-appropriate activities.
According to the Vision Council, only 15% of kids today are actually wearing eye protection consistently while playing sports even though most eye injuries in kids that are school-age occur while these kids are playing sports. Teachers, coaches, and all adults with a duty to supervise kids on school grounds should be aware of these risks and take measures to insure that kids are wearing their protective gear.
Every 13 minutes, someone appears in an American emergency room with a sports-related eye injury. Take steps now to make sure that your child isn’t one of them.