How to avoid eye injuries

Caring For Our Kids

Eye injuries are common in children, especially those who play sports and new research shows that basketball is the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in the U.S.  

Dr. Katy Stordahl, an ER physician at Children’s Hospital, says eye injuries aren’t uncommon at the hospital. The most common injury is a corneal abrasion, followed by a foreign body in the eye.

Stordahl said a recent study of information from nearly half a million children treated in U.S. hospital rooms over two decade revealed the most common reasons for eye injuries.

The top three are:

  • Basketball — some of these are devastating eye injuries- like detached retinas & even dislodging the eye socket.
  • Baseball or Softball 
  • Non-powder guns (Airsoft rifles and pellet guns like a BB gun). This is a growing category, as these guns become more popular with teens. These types of injuries were more likely to result in hospitalization. 

Pre-teens and teenagers are the highest risk categorise and 75 percent of kids treated for these type eye injuries are boys.

To prevent eye injuries, Stordahl recommends eye protection. Nearly all of these type injuries can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear, like goggles.

She also recommends educating yourself and your children about risks, especially around non-powder guns. Some fire plastic pellets, some fire metal ball bearings, others fire paint balls. All have a different mechanism to shoot the ammunition out of the gun and all carry risks. These are not toys. The AAP does not suggest an age when these type guns are considered safe, so parents should consider whether their child understands the risks and will wear eye protection.

For more information follow links below:

Results of AAP News & Journals study on sports-related eye injuries

Pediatric Eye Injuries Sustained During Sports and Recreation Remain High, and Air Guns Account for a Rising Percentage of Them (AAP)

Madness: Basketball is the Leading Cause of Eye Injuries (American Academy of Ophthalmology)

Airsoft Guns: Why Users Should Aim for Safety

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