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Parent’s Guide to Eye Health and Athletics

Parent’s Guide to Eye Health and Athletics


Q&A with VSP Optometrist, Dr. Paul Berman

Playing sports is one of the best opportunities for kids to develop physical, motor, and visual skills while having fun. Parents want to provide their kids with the best equipment and training to be safe and successful, but many are forgetting a crucial component–eye protection.

More than 42,000 sports-related eye injuries occur each year. According to Prevent Blindness America, an estimated 90% of these injuries could’ve been avoided.

To help explain how parents can protect their children’s eyes while improving their game, Dr. Paul Berman answers these important questions:

Q: What types of sport-related eye injuries can occur?

A: Sports-related eye injuries can include:

  • corneal abrasions (painful scrape or scratch on the cornea);
  • inflamed iris;
  • fracture of the eye socket;
  • blunt trauma;
  • penetrating injuries;
  • traumatic cataract, causing blood to spill into the eye’s anterior chamber;
  • swollen or detached retinas;
  • blindness.

Q: What sports have the most eye-related injuries?

A: Sports with bats and/or airborne balls at eye level have the most eye-related injuries.

  • High risk: basketball, baseball, lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, soccer
  • Low risk: track and field, swimming

Sports with the highest risk of eye injury:

  • Children over 14: basketball
  • Children under 14: baseball

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