Eyes Safety Tips for Your Children When Playing Sports


Eye injuries are a leading cause of blindness in children in the United States and most happen while they are playing sports. The good news is that 9 out of 10 of these sports-related eye injuries can be avoided by young athletes simply wearing the right protective eyewear.

What is protective eyewear?

Types of protective eyewear for sports include goggles, face guards, and special eyewear designed for specific sports. Protective eyewear is made of ultra-strong polycarbonate, a type of plastic that’s very impact resistant and also protects eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Regular eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contacts don’t protect kids from eye in injuries, however, most protective eyewear can be made to match kids’ glasses or contacts prescriptions.

Sports activities that have higher risks for eye injuries

Some sports have a higher risk for eye injuries than others. Kids need to use protective eyewear whenever they are practicing or playing a particular sport that raises the risk of eye injury.

Sports with a higher risk of eye injury include:

  • Basketball
  • Baseball and softball
  • Hockey
  • Fencing
  • Racquetball and squash
  • Paintball
  • Mountain biking

Sports with moderate risk of eye injury include:

  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Tackle football
  • Tennis
  • Badminton

What kind of protective eyewear do kids need?

Most youth sports leagues do not require players to use protective eyewear. For this reason, it’s important for parents, teachers, and coaches to encourage young athletes to use protective eyewear.

There are different types of protective eyewear that are best for different sports. Below is a list of specific sports activities that need protective wear to prevent injuries.

Kids need safety goggles with polycarbonate lenses when playing sports like:

  • Baseball and softball (when fielding)
  • Basketball
  • Mountain biking
  • Racquetball and squash

Kids need helmets with attached polycarbonate face guards or face masks when playing:

  • Baseball and softball (when batting)
  • Hockey
  • Tackle football

Kids need swim safety goggles with polycarbonate lenses when playing/doing these water sports:

  • Water polo
  • Water skiing or tubing
  • Surfing

For the complete article, visit the National Eye Institute website.