Score Big on Eye Safety: Top Tips to Protect Your Kids In Sports

May 29, 2024 | Children's Eye Health

Have you ever wondered why Mason Cox wears a unique pair of goggles during Collingwood games? The truth is, he suffered a torn retina from a sports-related eye injury during a game against the Gold Coast Suns in 2019. In this blog, we will highlight sports that pose a high risk for eye injuries and recommend suitable eye protection for these activities.

The Importance of Eye Protection in Sports

According to research, the rate of sports-related eye injuries in children is roughly 3 in every 10,000. While the incidence is low, the severity of these injuries can be high. Research indicates that 30% of sports-related eye injuries have the potential to cause permanent eye damage and vision loss. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of high-risk sports and provide adequate protection for your children.

High-Risk Sports

Sports involving small, high-speed projectiles, dense hard objects, or close physical contact carry the highest risk of causing eye injuries. Examples of high-risk sports include:

  • Cricket
  • Mountain Biking (high incidence of serious foreign body injury without eye protection)
  • Hockey
  • Fencing
  • Squash

Protection Recommendations:

  • Safety helmets with attached face guards should be worn for cricket, hockey (for goalie) and fencing. 
  • Sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses recognized by the Australian Standard are recommended for mountain biking, squash. paintball and air rifle.

Moderate-Risk Sports

These sports involve high-speed balls or pucks, the use of bats or sticks, close aggressive physical contact, or a combination of these factors. Examples include:

  • Australian Rules Football (AFL)
  • Badminton
  • Tennis
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Water Polo

Protection Recommendations:

  • Rules are often modified in junior games to ensure safety.
  • Incorporate safety training into routine practices to ensure all players follow safety rules.
  • Children at high risk for sports-related eye injuries (e.g., those with lazy eyes, existing eye conditions, or high prescriptions) should wear sports goggles that meet Australian standards or use protective equipment as advised by their optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Low-Risk Sports

These sports do not involve thrown or hit balls, bats or sticks, or close aggressive play. Examples include:

  • Diving
  • Gymnastics
  • Road biking
  • Skiing
  • Swimming

Protection Recommendations:

  • For water sports such as swimming, water skiing, diving, and surfing, children should wear swimming goggles made from polycarbonate material to protect their eyes from water. Presriptioned swimming goggles might be avaiable for your children depending on their glasses prescription.
  • For snow sports, protect children’s eyes from strong UV rays and glare reflected from the snow with goggles that have polarized UV protection coating, or with polarized sunglasses that wrap around the face.
  • For outdoor sports, prioritize sun protection by having children wear hats and polarized sunglasses to shield their eyes from UV damage.

Cost of Prescription Sports Goggles

There is a rumor that Mason Cox’s sports goggles cost between $3,000 to $4,000. Rest assured, sports goggles for your child will not cost that much. At Eye Collective, we can provide prescription sports goggles at a price similar to a pair of regular glasses.

If you have more questions about how to protect your children’s eyes while they play sports or want to know the best options for your child, book an appointment with one of our experienced optometrists. We can provide personalized advice to ensure your child’s eye safety in sports.