Each year, more than 13,000 children suffer sports-related eye injuries, and most of those injuries are preventable with proper eye protection.
Types of injuries
Sports is the leading cause of eye injury in school-age children, says Monica Khitri, MD, UCLA pediatric ophthalmologist at Doheny Eye Center UCLA in Pasadena and Arcadia. “Most of the injuries happen in baseball and basketball, but hockey, lacrosse, tennis, wrestling, football and soccer are also high risk,” Dr. Khitri says. “Most often, an eye injury occurs when a ball, bat, finger or elbow strikes the child’s face.” The most common symptoms of an eye injury are pain, eye redness, and blurred or double vision. Depending on the impact, injuries may range from relatively minor to severe:
Eye protection tips
Do not delay treatment
Do not apply any pressure on the injured eye or allow your child to rub their eyes. Contact your doctor immediately for medical guidance. The earlier that a child is seen and treated, the better their chances of recovery. If left untreated, serious injuries can lead to permanent loss of vision or loss of the eye itself. If more advanced care is required, you will be referred to a specialist.
The importance of protective eyewear
“Wearing protective eyewear is the most effective way to prevent sports-related eye injuries. Since most youth sports leagues do not require eye protection, it is really up to parents and coaches to encourage players to use them,” Dr. Khitri says. “And the more children see their peers wearing them, the more likely they are to use them too.”
To read more Health Tips for Parents, visit uclahealth.org/HealthTips
Tags: Children’s Health, Doheny Eye Center UCLA Arcadia, double vision, Dr. Monica Khitri, eye pain, eye redness, Eyelid scratches, floaters, hyphema, light sensitivity, pediatric ophthalmologist, Pediatrics, reduced vision, retinal detachment, sports-related eye injuries, Wellness
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