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Sports Eye Safety on and off the Baseball Diamond

As the weather grows warmer, aspiring little leaguers have begun to channel their favorite Major League Baseball players and are ready to run the bases.Before your little one starts swinging a bat, there are several important things to know about sports-related eye injuries. Eye injuries from sports are all too common: every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. While about 90% of these injuries can be avoided, sports like baseball are known to cause the most injuries to the eyes.

What you need to know to protect your little all-star

“A lot of players get or cause eye injuries not because of mishap on the field, but rather because they have undetected or uncorrected vision issues like poor depth perception,” said Keith Smithson, OD.

Clear vision directly correlates with an athlete’s performance, and if they cannot see clearly on the diamond, their performance will suffer. Poor vision can lead to accidents such as tripping and falling, as well as misjudging how far away an object is. For baseball especially, it is imperative to have unobstructed vision as hitting a baseball happens within seconds. If your child is struggling to make contact with the ball, it might be time to have their eyes checked.

It’s also important that your child’s eyes are properly protected while they are on the field. Wearing sports safety glasses can help your athlete avoid getting particles in their eyes when they slide into home base. If dirt from the baseball diamond gets into your child’s eye, it can cause severe damage, such as a corneal abrasion, and be very uncomfortable.

Dr. Smithson noted that coaches aren’t always educated on the proper protective eyewear for each sport and therefore you shouldn’t rely solely on them to suggest the best equipment for your child. Some coaches, unknowingly, will let their players wear eyeglasses while they play, which can potentially shatter and cause more damage to a child’s eye than wearing no protective eyewear at all.

Your VSP network eye doctor can help make sure your child has the protective eyewear they need to perform on and off the field. Outside of a consultation on the right protective eyewear, having your child undergo an annual comprehensive eye exam is also crucial before an injury occurs.

“Don’t wait until your child experiences an eye injury to take them to the eye doctor,” said Dr. Smithson. “An eye exam can give eye doctors a baseline of your child’s vision to measure up against if they do happen to get injured, including concussions. Otherwise it can be hard to determine what typically is ‘normal’ vision for your child.”

To help your child become an all-star in their respective little league and protect them from eye injury, remember your VSP network eye doctor is on your team. Hitting a home run with the right prescription and pair of sports safety glasses from your eye doctor can make all the difference this season.

By Lauren E

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