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Tips for preventing sports-related eye injuries

Aug. 23, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

The National Eye Institute (NEI) says that eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children and that every 13 minutes, an ER in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. Most of the eye injuries among kids aged 11 to 14 occur while playing sports. The NEI says baseball is the leading cause of eye injuries in children 14 and under. Basketball is the leading cause of eye injuries among 15- to 24-year-olds. Here are the sports with the highest rates of eye injuries according to the NEI:

Baseball/Softball

Basketball

Ice Hockey

Racquet Sports

Fencing

Lacrosse

Paintball

Boxing

Protective eyewear can prevent most of the eye injuries related to sports. Eyewear should be sport specific and sit comfortably on the face. Protective eyewear is usually made of polycarbonate and is available at most sporting goods stores and at the offices of eye care professionals.

Kids often resist wearing protective eye gear if a majority of team members do not use them, but there are resources to promote increased use of this type of safety equipment.

For kids there's a specific website: http://isee.nei.nih.gov and for parents, coaches and teachers you can go to www.nei.hih.gov/sports. So, before you suit-up, make sure you're prepared with all the right gear.

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Our goal is a simple one; to inform and encourage area residents on ways to improve their health. Join our conversation and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook. com/healthyhabits2013.

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