FRANKFORT – Now that the school year has started, the fall sports season also is under way.
That means parents must take precautions to ensure their children’s eye safety. According to Prevent Blindness America, approximately 40,000 eye injuries take place in the United States during sports or recreational activities each year, and some will lead to irreversible vision loss. Almost one-third of sports-related eye injuries occur in children between the ages of 5 and 14.
“Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in America, and most injuries for school-aged children are sports-related,” said Dr. Ian McWherter, an optometrist in Louisville, Ky. “The results of an eye injury can range from temporary to permanent vision loss, so it’s important that parents take the proper steps when their children play sports.”
The good news, McWherter said, is that 90 percent of these injuries are preventable with the proper use of eye protection on the playing field. McWherter and the Kentucky Optometric Association have the following tips for eye and vision safety while playing sports:
• Always wear protective eyewear during team or contact sports;
• Keep street eyewear off the playing field. Conventional frames and lenses often do not meet the minimum requirements for impact resistance in most sports; and
• When shopping for protective eyewear, make sure the equipment conforms to the American Society for Testing and Materials specifications for that particular sport.
To find an optometrist in your area, please visit www.kyeyes.org.