Your vision is one of the most important ways you interact with the world. That's especially true for children, who need to learn about the world and grow. Yet the world is full of risk, and eye injuries among young kids are quite common.
"In 2008, children had one of the highest rates of emergency room visits for eye injuries."
In fact, according to a report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality concerning 2008 figures, children between the ages of zero and 17 had one of the highest rates of emergency room visits for eye injuries. There were some 243 visits per 100,000 population.
It's because of that rate that several medical organizations use August to observe Child Eye Health and Safety Month. If you want to participate, follow these six handy tips:
1. Stay in the game
The same AHRQ report mentioned that most children's eye injuries stem from competitive sports. As important as knee pads and helmets are, parents should also consider protective eyewear for their little basketball or baseball star. It's important to find those glasses that cover the eyes completely and offer 100 percent protection against harmful UV rays. Finally, avoid polarized lenses, as these only block out glare and do nothing for UV rays.
2. Consider a dietary change
Though it's impossible to avoid injuries entirely, you can still protect your child's eyesight in a number of ways. As Health magazine pointed out, one of the most effective ways is to feed your child the right foods. Carrots are an obvious choice, as their beta-carotene improves the function of the retinas. Eggs, meanwhile, contain both zeaxanthin and lutein, and these prevent degeneration of eye muscle. Berries and citrus are loaded with vitamin C, and this is known to reduce the risk of cataracts and other ocular diseases.
3. Make sure you're prepared
Most families keep a first aid kit around the house just to be safe. The same care and preparedness is why many doctors also suggest an eye care kit. The best kits contain things like pads and strips, bandages, contact lens replacements and a flushing solution. Just be aware that not all injuries can be treated at home, and it's important to seek out proper care following more extensive accidents.
4. Never forget the little things
Wearing sports goggles and the like seem to be obvious steps. However, as the American Academy of Ophthalmology pointed out, there are several less obvious issues to consider. It's important to make sure children only play with age-appropriate toys, which lowers the risk of injury. Always look out for toys that have been certified safe by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Proper supervision is also essential, and even time spent alone with seemingly innocuous toys and other items can prove costly. It's a good idea to prepare your home by putting safety gates at the stairs and padding sharp corners.
5. Find proper care
Though unfortunate, eye injuries still happen. You can ensure your little one gets the best treatment possible by visiting your local CareWell Urgent Care Center. With locations across the Eastern Seaboard, CareWell is capable of handling many serious injuries and eye related issues.