Sight is a precious gift. It is an ability that we often take for granted until the day we start to lose it. Protecting our eyes is essential for promoting healthy vision and preventing damage, especially among children. According to Prevent Blindness, 90% of eye injuries could have been prevented. When it comes to protecting the gift of sight, children need an advocate and guardian. Children are not always conscious of the need to protect their eyes and cannot be trusted with the responsibility of promoting the health of their vision. To reduce the risk of child eye injuries and encourage healthy vision, here are three ways to protect your kids’ eyes.
1. Preventing Eye Injuries at Home & During Play
Common household products are responsible for over 125,000 eye injuries each year. Children will suffer eye injuries at home and during play due to misusing toys, handling harmful household products (detergents, glues, paints, etc.), mishandling tools and objects (utensils, pencils, and scissors), and falling.
To minimize the risk of your child receiving an eye injury at home or during play, follow these safety tips:
- Place safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs to prevent falls.
- Improve safety on stairs by installing lights and handrails.
- Keep dangerous tools and objects away from kids by installing locks on cabinets and drawers.
- Store harmful household products in places that are out of reach or within locked cabinets.
- Make sure children wear safety glasses when doing yard work, learning to use power tools, and during other activities that pose a risk to eye safety.
- Sharp corners, edges of furniture, and home fixtures should be padded or cushioned.
- Only buy toys that are age appropriate and show your child how to use the toy properly.
- Avoid toys with dangerous points, spikes, rods, or edges.
- For children under five, avoid flying toys and projectile-firing toys.
2. Minimizing Sport-Related Eye Injuries
According to the National Eye Institute, eye injuries occurring in school-aged children are sports-related. Child eye injuries due to sports account for over 100,000 physician visits each year and cost roughly $175 million. Protecting your eyes is important regardless of the sport and the age of your child.
When it comes to preventing sport-related eye injuries, your child needs to wear safety glasses or equivalent eye protection. Kids should wear protective eyewear for racquet sports or basketball. For sports like baseball or hockey, make sure your child uses helmets and face shields.
Regular glasses do not provide enough protection to minimize the risk of sports-related eye injuries. To get the highest level of protection for your child, purchase eyewear that is performance tested.
Here is what you should look for when purchasing sports eyewear for your child:
- Eyewear is labeled as ASTM F803 approved. This label indicates that the safety glasses have been performance tested.
- Protective eye guards should fit securely and comfortably. Make sure they work with a helmet.
- If you need prescription eye guards, ask your eye doctor to fit them for you.
- Expect to spend between $20 - $40 for a pair of sports safety glasses.
- Lenses should stay in place or pop outward in the event of an accident. Safety glasses that allow the lenses to pop inward against your eyes can be dangerous.
- Purchase eye protection with anti-fogging technology to ensure clear vision.
- Look for safety glasses made of polycarbonate. This plastic material is highly impact resistant.
3. Reducing Exposure to Blue Light
As digital devices continue to permeate our daily lives, there has been a growing concern about the negative effect that smartphones, tablets, laptops, and televisions have on a child’s eyesight. Digital devices emit blue light. Blue light rays have short wavelengths (380 - 500nm) and, thus, higher energy than other visible light. Not all blue light is bad. However, overexposure can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina.
The risk of overexposure to blue light is higher among children because their eyes develop gradually and are more sensitive. Children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adults from digital device screens, according to a recent NEI-funded study. While adult eyes are not insusceptible to blue light exposure, kids under the age of eighteen have eyes that typically lack protective pigments that help protect the retina from blue light exposure. In addition to wearing kid's blue blocking glasses, there are a number of ways to help avoid exposure.
To minimize the risk of overexposure to blue light emitted from digital devices, parents should do the following to protect the healthy vision of their children:
- Limit Screen Time - decrease the time your child spends in front of digital devices that emit blue light.
- Take Breaks - if your child has to spend long periods of time looking at digital devices, make sure they take frequent breaks to rest the eyes and reduce constant exposure to blue light.
- Set Times for Digital Devices - overexposure to blue light can disturb sleep patterns within children. Limit the use of devices at night and before bedtime.
- Screen Filters - you can buy screen filters for your smartphone, tablet, or computer to decrease the amount of blue light emitted by these digital devices.
- Blue Light Blocking Glasses - computer glasses for kids with yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light help prevent overexposure and minimize digital eye strain.
- Anti-Reflective Lenses - while not as protective as a pair of blue light blocking reading glasses, anti-reflective lenses can reduce glare from the sun and digital devices.
The blue blocker glasses from Dr. S block 99% of blue light from entering the retina, more than other popular brands! To learn more about our blue light blocking glasses for kids, call or contact Dr. S Eyewear.