What you need to know about eye injuries among children

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Alarming news: According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the U.S. Among eye injuries, sports-related ones are the most common among children, and the results can range from temporary to permanent vision loss.

Good news: 90% of sports-related eye injuries are preventable with the use of proper protective eyewear. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields and eye guards which are often designed to protect the eyes for specific types of sports or physical activities. Prescription glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses ARE NOT considered protective eyewear. While these vision implements do protect the eyes, they serve a different purpose. If needed, protective eyewear must be worn over them.

NEI: Protective eyewear is made of strong polycarbonate 10x more impact resistant than other plastics #InvisalensTip #InvisalensFightsMyopia

 

As parents, it is our duty to insist that our children wear safety glasses or goggles when they are out on the field or at play, even if the school or the team does not require it. It is particularly important for kids with a history of eye injury or eye surgery.

AAO: Among kids aged 5 to 14 in the US, most sports-related injuries occur while playing baseball. #InvisalensTip #InvisalensFightsMyopia

 

In addition to investing in protecting eyewear, how do we ensure that our children do not become part of the statistics?

Here are some easy and practical tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) that will keep your children’s eyes happy, healthy and safe.

  • Testing and Materials or ASTM mark. This means that the toy is at par with national safety standards.)
  • Be a good example to your children. Wear protective eyewear when doing yard work or household chores that expose your eyes to harmful chemicals, fumes and objects.
  • Fireworks look pretty from afar but up close, they can be really dangerous so keep your children away from them.
  • When in transit, secure your young children in baby carriers and child safety seats, and of course, make sure that the seat and shoulder belts are holding them up snugly. Loose items should be store in the trunk so that they don’t become a dangerous projectile in a worst case scenario.

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In the event that an eye injury does happen, immediately seek professional medical help and take note of the following first aid guidelines:

  • DO NOT touch, rub or apply pressure to the eyes.
  • DO NOT attempt to remove any object stuck in the eye. Let the doctors do it. If it’s small debris, lift the eyelid and ask your child to blink rapidly to see if the tears will flush it out. Otherwise, have your child close his/her eyes and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • DO NOT apply ointment or medication to the affected eye.
  • If there is a cut or a puncture wound, cover it gently.
  • If the cause of the injury is chemical exposure, only then can you flush it out with plenty of clean water.

Children are naturally curious, playful and physically active. The threat of eye injuries should not hinder them from fully enjoying their childhood and experiencing the simple but profound joys of being young.

 

FACT OR MYTH?

MYTH: Eye injuries are more common at work.

FACT: Nearly half (44.7%) of all eye injuries occurred at home. More than a third of injuries inside the home happened in the living areas—kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and family room.

MYTH: Eye injuries are only caused by chemicals, dust or sharp objects.

FACT: Eyes can also be damaged by sun exposure.

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