Eye injuries can happen to anyone. Over half (55 percent) of the victims of eye injuries are under 25. Many of these injuries—over 100,000 annually—occur during sports or recreational activities. Most importantly, 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented.
When an injury does occur, it is always best to have an ophthalmologist examine your eye as soon as possible. The seriousness of your injury may not be immediately obvious.
Preventing Eye Injuries
People with good vision in only one eye should wear safety glasses to protect the good eye, even if they do not need glasses otherwise. Safety glasses should have lenses made of polycarbonate (an especially strong, shatterproof, lightweight plastic) and be 3mm thick. A plastic or polycarbonate frame will reduce the risk of injury from the frames themselves. Frames which meet the ANSI standards offer the best available protection for general spectacle wear.
Adults can set a good example for children by always wearing protective eyewear while using power tools, rotary mowers, line lawn trimmers, or hammering on metal.
Eye Safety at Home
- Select games and toys appropriate for your child's age and responsibility level.
- Do not allow your children to ignite fireworks or stand near others who are doing so. All fireworks are potentially dangerous for children of any age.
- Do not allow your children in the yard while a lawnmower is being operated. Stones thrown from the moving blades can cause severe eye injury.
- Keep all chemicals and sprays out of reach of small children.
- Be aware that even common household items, such as paper clips, rubber bands, wire coat hangers, elastic cords, and fishing hooks can cause serious eye injury.
Eye Safety at School
Students should wear protective goggles when participating in shop or science lab.
Eye Safety during Sports
- Parents and coaches need to provide eyewear and enforce its use.
- Protective devices should be combined with appropriate rules, coaching, conditioning, and officiating to prevent injury.
- Children requiring corrective lenses should wear polycarbonate lenses with frames designed for greater impact resistance. Note: Contact lenses are not a form of protective eyewear and contact lens wearers require additional protection when participating in sports.
- Parents of children with permanently reduced vision in one eye should carefully consider the risks of contact sports and injury to the good eye before allowing them to participate. Participation in boxing, however, should not be allowed because there is no means of providing adequate protection for the good eye.
Eye Protection by Sport
- Baseball A helmet with polycarbonate face shield should be used while batting.
- Basketball, Racketball, Tennis, and Soccer Use sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses and side shields which pass the ASTM or Canadian Standards Association (CSA) racket-sport standard. Spectacle correction may be incorporated into the goggles.
- Boxing Boxing poses an extremely high risk of serious, even blinding, injury. No adequate eye protection is available although thumbless gloves may reduce the number of eye injuries.
- Hockey Always use a helmet with polycarbonate face mask or wire shield certified by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) or the CSA.
- Skiing Protective glasses or goggles that filter U.V. and excessive sunlight exposure can be useful in shielding the eyes from sunburn.