UAB Medicine News
Eye-Opening Facts about Children’s Eye Trauma
August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, which emphasizes healthy vision for children by encouraging eye exams to detect vision problems and raises awareness about preventing eye injuries at home and school.
During the first two weeks of August, the seasonal risks of children’s eye injuries overlap. Many kids who still have all day to play will spend time at the pool or the ball field. When school starts, kindergarteners may be using scissors and pencils for the first time or joining rowdy classmates on a new playground. Kids of all ages may be signing up for sports teams.
Although eye injuries among kids peak in midsummer and decline in early fall, it’s a good idea to keep safety in mind year round. Here are some facts to consider:
- Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children, accounting for an estimated 100,000 emergency room and doctor visits each year.
- Basketball and baseball are the leading causes of sports-related eye injuries among children 14 years old and younger.
- 90% of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented by protective eyewear.
- Many eye injuries in children five and younger are caused by paint, cleaners, and other household chemicals.
- Activities involving thrown objects are a common cause of eye injury, especially at pools and beaches.
- Children’s retinas may receive up to three times more harmful UV radiation than mature retinas. Sunglasses can prevent that.
- Loose objects in automobiles can become projectiles in a crash or during quick stops and turns. A car seat won’t protect the eyes.
- Almost no eye injury should be treated at home. That’s what emergency rooms and eye trauma centers are for.
- Kids and teens age 10-19 are nearly two times more likely to be injured by fireworks than the general population is.
- One-third of fireworks injuries to children are caused by sparklers.
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