Sports are great for the health: they keeps kids fit and active, improve coordination and teamwork skills, and reduce the risk of serious illnesses later in life.
However, playing sports can also be dangerous, particularly to the eyes. Impact with a fast moving object or accidental contact with another player’s fingers can lead to devastating eye injuries. Children suffer from 600,000 eye injuries every year, more than one third of which are due to playing sports. In fact, the majority of eye injuries suffered by older children, aged between 11 and 14, happen when playing sports. Yet only 15 percent of kids use eye protection, reports The Vision Council.
Whether your child plays baseball, basketball, racquet sports, or another activity, here are a few features that should be present in all types of kids’ eye protection for sports:
- Polycarbonate lenses. Polycarbonate is the strongest material used for lenses. Eyewear made from any other material may shatter upon impact and injure eyes. You can find polycarbonate lenses in both sunglasses and other types of protective eyewear.
- ASTM standards. Fashionable eyewear frequently has lower protective standards than sports eyewear. Anything you choose must meet the American Standards for Testing and Materials (ASTM) requirements.
- Face guards. Not all face guards and helmets offer adequate protection for the eyes. Check that face guards are made from polycarbonate, and even combine helmets with additional eye protection, such as sports sunglasses, if necessary. Some face guards are removable and can be worn independently from a helmet for a different sport.
- Prescription lenses. Glasses alone do not offer sufficient protection for sports. If your child uses corrective glasses, choose eyewear that can be fitted with prescription lenses.
- UV protection. If your kids will be playing sports outdoors, you also need to keep their eyes safe from the sun’s rays. Look for eyewear that offers both UVA and UVB protection.
Sunglasses like Bolt, Blaze, and Storm for Youths or Blade, Swag, and Shine for Tweens are perfect for kids when they are outside and having fun. Find all these styles and more in the Real Kids’ collection.