Protecting Your Child's Sight

Despite all the things you do to keep your children safe – at home, on the playground, and in the car – accidents happen. Each year, thousands of children visit emergency rooms and doctors’ offices with eye injuries.

What Causes Most Children’s Eye Injuries?

Most eye injuries come from a handful of causes. Toys that are used inappropriately; falling into or off of a piece of furniture; using tools and other objects incorrectly like running with scissors; aerosols and chemicals; and car accidents when children are not in safety seats. Taking proper precautions such as wearing goggles or safety glasses with side shields can help prevent eye injuries. 

Kids and Sports

Goggles and shields will help to protect your child's eyes from injury while playing sports. Wearing protective eyewear may help to prevent 90 percent of eye injuries. Many goggles or safety glasses come with tints to reduce sun glare and polycarbonate lenses that stand up to sudden, sharp impact. All kids need protective eyewear while playing sports. Ordinary prescription eyeglasses do not provide adequate protection - protective eyewear should be sport-specific. Be sure to wear appropriate eye protection based on the activity or sport you are doing.

Can You Teach Eye Safety Behavior to Your Children?

Children learn through imitation. Help your child learn healthy habits by demonstrating the right behavior for safe play and work:

  • Wear safety goggles when you work with chemicals and other hazardous materials.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to shield your eyes on bright, sunny days, or when snow or ice gleam in the sunlight.
  • Use goggles when you play sports like racquetball, basketball, tennis, and soccer and insist your child do the same.
  • Wash your hands often and keep your hands away from your eyes and nose to inhibit the spread of colds and other viruses.
  • If you use sparklers or fireworks, follow the guidelines for safe use presented by the National Council on Fireworks Safety.

Can I Treat an Eye Injury Myself?

Despite every precaution, accidents may happen. If your child's eye is injured, you should always get immediate, professional medical attention. It’s the best way to safeguard your child's vision.

Here are some tips in the event of an eye injury (these tips are not meant to replace professional medical attention).

  • Trauma to the Eye: If your child is hit in the eye, rest a protective shield—such as a Styrofoam cup—on the bone around the eye. Make sure there is no pressure on the eye itself.  Get immediate, professional medical attention.
  • Foreign Body: If an object has entered your child's eye, do not try to remove it; you may tear delicate tissue or force the object in deeper. Rest a protective shield—such as a Styrofoam cup—on the bone around the eye, making sure there is no pressure on the eye itself.  Get immediate, professional medical attention.
  • Black Eye: If your child is hit in the eye area, place an ice pack or cold cloth over the eye.  Get immediate, professional medical attention.
  • Chemical Burn: If your child's eye has sustained a chemical burn, rinse it with fresh water for at least 20 - 30 minutes. Use a clean container to pour water into their eye. As you rinse, use your fingers to hold their eye open as wide as possible to ensure the greatest possible coverage.  Get immediate, professional medical attention.

Protecting Eyes in the Sun

The sun’s rays can be tough on eyes. Take simple precautions to keep your child's eyes safe outdoors:

  • Choose sunglasses with UV protection to help protect your child’s eyes. Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection block both forms of ultraviolet rays.
  • Hats with a brim are helpful in blocking indirect sun, which can come into the eyes around the edges of sunglasses.