Focus on Sports Eye Safety

sports eye gogglesParents, Teachers and Coaches Can Help Prevent Sports-Related Eye Injuries

Parents and coaches play an important role in making sure young athletes protect their eyes and properly gear up for the game. Protective eyewear should be part of any uniform because it plays such an important role in reducing sports-related eye injury.

Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States, and most injuries occurring in school-aged children are sports-related. These injuries account for an estimated 100,000 physician visits per year at a cost of more than $175 million.

Ninety percent of sports-related eye injuries can be avoided with the use of protective eyewear. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards designed for a particular sport. Ordinary prescription glasses, contact lenses, and sunglasses do not protect against eye injuries. Safety goggles should be worn over them.

Most youth sports leagues do not require the use of eye protection. Parents and coaches must insist that children wear safety glasses or goggles whenever they play.

Protective eyewear, which is made of ultra-strong polycarbonate, is 10 times more impact-resistant than other plastics, and does not reduce vision. All children who play sports should use protective eyewear-not just those who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. For children who do wear glasses or contact lenses, most protective eyewear can be made to match their prescriptions. It is especially important for student athletes who have vision in only one eye or a history of eye injury or eye surgery to use protective eyewear.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, or coach, you can encourage schools to adopt a policy on protective eyewear. Meanwhile, parents and coaches should insist that children wear protective eyewear whenever they play sports and be good role models and wear it themselves.

Sources: Harrison, A., & Telander, D.G. (2002). Eye Injuries in the youth athlete: a case-based approach. Sports Medicine, 31(1), 33-40.

For More Information

For more information about sports-related activities and protective eyewear, visit:


Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)

The National Eye Institute (NEI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is the Federal government’s lead agency for vision research that leads to sight-saving treatments and plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness.

Protecting Children’s Sight

New Online Resource to Help Protect Children’s Sight Launches from The National Center For Children’s Vision And Eye Health at Prevent Blindness and the National Association Of School Nurses

boy with backpack(March 2, 2016) – The National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) has partnered with the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) to create a new online resource to support school nurses in the implementation of stronger vision health programs for the students they serve.

More than 12.1 million school-age children, or one in four, have some form of a vision problem which includes refractive errors such as near- and far-sightedness, astigmatism, and strabismus.  Significant vision problems can begin well before a child reaches school-age. Vision impairments are common conditions, affecting 5 to 10 percent of all preschool-aged children. According to the National Eye Institute, two to five percent of children ages three to five have amblyopia, three to four percent have strabismus, and 10-15 percent have significant refractive error.

The collaboration between NASN and the NCCVEH has resulted in materials that promote a standardized approach to vision and eye health, facilitates follow-up to eye care for children who do not pass vision screening, and provides family-friendly educational information.

“School nurses recognize the importance of good vision and its relationship to academic success for students. The education, skills, and resources provided for school nurses will help prepare students who are healthy, safe, and ready to learn,” said Beth Mattey, president of the National Association of School Nurses. “The vision health webpage highlights how collectively, we optimize better health and better learning for students.”

Included online are free downloadable fact sheets, webinars from leading eye care professionals, a listing of vision care resources, and much more.  The materials are part of the NCCVEH developed “12 Components of a Strong Vision Health System of Care,” including:

1. Family Education

2. Comprehensive Communication/Approval Process

3. Vision Screening Tools and Procedures

4. Vision Health for Children with Special Healthcare Needs (CSHCN)

5. Standardized Approach for Re-Screening

6. Guidelines for Vision Screening Programs

7. Comprehensive Vision Screening Results

8. Systemized Approach to Follow-Up

9. Resources for Eye Care

10. Effective Communication with the Medical Home

11. Adherence to Treatment

12. Evaluation of Your Vision Health Program

“In many cases, school nurses are on the front lines of helping to provide quality healthcare to our children,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “Through this latest collaboration, we are able to offer comprehensive materials to effectively deliver the best chances of success for a lifetime of healthy vision for our kids.”

For more information about the vision and eye health resource from the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness  and the National Association of School Nurses, visit

About the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health

In 2009, Prevent Blindness established the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, with funding and leadership support from the HRSA – Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Serving as a major resource for the establishment of a public health infrastructure, the National Center advances and promotes children’s vision and eye care, providing leadership and training to public entities throughout the United States. The National Center is advised by a committee of national experts and leaders from the fields of ophthalmology, optometry, pediatrics, nursing, family advocates and public health to guide the work and recommendations of the Center.

About the National Association of School Nurses

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) is a nonprofit specialty nursing organization, organized in 1968 and incorporated in 1977, representing school nurses exclusively. NASN has nearly 16,000 members and 50 affiliates, including the District of Columbia and overseas. The mission of NASN is to optimize student health and learning by advancing the practice of school nursing.

What You Need to Know About Toy-related Injuries

Report Shows Increase in Toy-related Injuries Treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms

In 2013, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that hospital emergency rooms across the country treated 265,700 toy-related injuries, compared to 265,000 the year before. And 73 percent of those injuries were to children under the age of 15. In fact, approximately 83,700 were to those under 5 years of age.

As with previous years, the most commonly injured part of the body is the head and face area, with the most common injuries being lacerations, contusions, or abrasions. The top three specifically identified toys associated with the most estimated injuries for all ages in 2013 were non-motorized scooters, toy balls and toy vehicles.

Before purchasing a toy or gift:

  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
  • Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is right for the child’s ability and age. Consider whether other smaller children may be in the home that may have access to the toy.
  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
  • Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (such as a basketball along with eye goggles).
  • Don’t give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If any part of a toy can fit in a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of 3.
  • Do not purchase toys with long strings or cords, especially for infants and very young children, as these can become wrapped around a child’s neck.
  • Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately.
  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Always supervise children and demonstrate to them how to use their toys safely.

In addition, stay informed of recalled products. For further information on toy and product recalls, visit the U.S. Product Safety Commission Web site at

For more information on safe toys and gifts for children, visit, or call Prevent Blindness at (800) 331-2020.