It is important to wear the correct protective gear to avoid youth sports eye injury. Eye injuries occur frequently in youth sports for many reasons, and some sports carry greater eye risks than others. Children who have just started new high speed sports or combative youth sports are most likely to suffer from an eye injury while playing. This is because these sports are high-risk, and the player is relatively new to the rules and safety techniques.
Youth sports injuries to the eyes are common for both practice sessions and during sports games. It is important for players, coaches, and children’s guardians to take precautionary measures to help avoid these kinds of injuries from being a problem. In many cases, youth sports eye protection is required. This is usually done with the use of special rules to encourage youth sports safety, as well as, the use of goggles or other forms of eye protection.

Youth Sports Eye Risks


The risk of sports eye injuries falls into one of three categories. There are low risk, high risk, and extremely high risk sports that require youth sports safety for eye protection. Low risk sports do not involve a ball or other object being thrown or hit. Examples of low risk eye injury sports are track and field, swimming, rowing, and gymnastics. The main risk of eye injuries from sports in this category would involve uncommon irritation to the eye from foreign objects.

High Speed Sports


Sports involving high speed objects, like a ball, puck, baseball bat, or hockey stick and aggressive physical contact have a high risk associated with them and require sports eye protection from injuries. Examples of this are ice, field, and street hockey, racket sports like racquetball, squash, tennis, and lacrosse, basketball, and football. Eye injuries from sports are a substantial concern for these activities. Eye safety for youth sports should usually be available for these instances.

Combative Youth Sports


Sports with an extremely high risk of eye injury are combative sports like boxing, martial arts, and wrestling. The added risk level is partly a result of lack of youth eye protection. Furthermore, it is advised that one-eyed functioning athletes avoid these types of sports activities.

Other Sports Eye Injuries


It has also been noted that there is added risk related to physical development, age and skill level, and pre-existing visual impairment. Beginners are more prone to injuries than youths with intermediate or advanced skill and experience. Also, in sports like hockey, racquetball, and football there is more physical contact and aggressiveness involved. This added risk makes eye injuries more common to those sports.

Athletes with retinal degeneration, thin sclera, eye disease, or previous eye surgery are also at a pronounced risk if an eye injury occurs. Athletes with these kinds of risks should consult with an ophthalmologist before participating in high risk sports. Eye protection alone may not be sufficient for these instances.

Youth Sports Eye Protection


Most injuries can be prevented with the use of appropriate eye protection. Protective glasses with polycarbonate lenses are appropriate for many athletes, especially for the visually impaired. In high contact sports, the combination of a helmet along with wire frames provides safety from fast moving objects. There are also helmets with polycarbonate face shields for use in some sports, like hockey.

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Sources:

"Eye Injuries and Eye Protection in Sports." International Federation of Sports Medicine. N.p.. Web. 3 Sep 2013. <https://www.fims.org/content/assets/documents/PositionStatements/PS6-Eye-Injuries-and-Eye-Protection-in-Sports.pdf>.