Outdoor play and sports are beneficial for children for a few reasons. For one, they’re great developmental tools – physically and mentally, as children get to practice virtues like perseverance, determination, and leadership while playing something that they enjoy. It’s also an excellent way to make new friends or get closer to family. Research has also shown the protective nature of outdoor activity against one of the most common health problems in children worldwide – myopia (short-sightedness). That said, sports do come with some risks. There’s always the possibility of sports-related injuries – whether that be a scrape or something worse like a fracture. That goes for eye injuries as well, which is why we’re doling out some eye safety tips to keep your child’s eyes safe while they reap the many rewards of outdoor play.
Like most injuries, the risk can be mitigated when both adults and children are properly educated and equipped with the right safety behaviours. It’s important for you and your kids to know what they are getting into. Picking a sport as a co-curricular activity (CCA) in schools like badminton, baseball, or hockey, naturally presents greater risks to our eyes than, say, rock climbing. That doesn’t mean that your kids should avoid these activities though – it simply means that sports should be approached with the care it deserves. For example, do some research with your child about the sport before joining, or if your little one is still very young, it might be good to talk to their sports coach about safety during training, and the measures in place to mitigate any risks.
Proper eye safety equipment can only be a boon. For example, wear safety goggles to safeguard one’s eyes while playing racquet sports or volleyball. Batting helmets equipped with face shields are another useful tool for youth baseball. These safety equipments can protect your children’s eyes while they develop their athletic skills far better than regular glasses, which simply aren’t robust enough to keep their eyes safe.
Apart from injuries, there’s another vector for eye-related ailments during sports – your children themselves. For example, trying to rub dust from their eyes with equally dusty hands in the heat of the moment may cause unwanted health outcomes for their delicate eyes. It’s vital to, as far as possible, inculcate proper eye care behaviours at home so that your kids will remember them in the field.
When all’s said and done, accidents do happen. There’s no amount of training that will keep your child absolutely safe in every situation that arises in a game. However, what you can do is equip them with the tools and know-how to train safely most of the time. To make it simple for parents, Plano has developed planoEyecheck, an online platform that connects people to trusted optometrists island-wide. Parents can schedule an appointment with their nearest optometrist who can help find the best vision solution for children who play sports. Here’s to many more enjoyable years of sports while keeping your kids’ eyes in tip-top shape!
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