Friday, April 1, 2011

April is Sports Eye Safety Month

April is Sports Eye Safety Month

In addition to April being Autism Awareness Month, April is also Sports Eye Safety Month. It is estimated that 40,000 eye injuries take place annually are sports related. Being fit and active is great but steps need to be taken to protect your eyes and vision. Out of those 40,000 eye injuries over 90% of them could have been prevented with proper eyewear and protective gear.

Eye injuries are one of the leading causes of blindness and visual impairment in children. Common injuries range from abrasions of the cornea, bruises of the lids to internal eye injuries such as retinal detachments and internal bleeding. Unfortunately, some end up with permanent vision loss and blindness that could have been prevented.

It is a myth/common misunderstanding that only children who wear glasses require protective eyewear for sports. All children's eyes and vision should be protected. Children who require the use of prescription lenses will have different protective eyewear needs.

It is a myth that the only sports that require protective eyewear are sports such as hockey, football, baseball or basketball. Each sport has its own unique eyewear needs - yes, tennis, swimming, soccer, martial arts and cheerleading too.

Most sports leagues do not enforce or require mandatory eye protection. Parents, it is up to you to demand this of your local sports programs and to be proactive in protecting your child's vision regardless of requirement.

For children who wear glasses, the use of polycarbonate (shatter-proof) plastic lenses or contact lenses is recommended. Protective sports goggles (like Rec Specs) can be made with prescription lenses. I ordered Rec Specs for my daughter who plays ice hockey and it was a very simple process. In Ice Hockey they also wear a helmet with a full face shield.  children should get into the safe practice of wearing protective eyewear such as a helmet with a face shield or sports goggles. Children who wear prescription lenses can get prescription goggles such as Rec Specs, Jr. My daughter plays ice hockey and wears both a helmet with a full face wire cage and prescription Rec Specs JR that I ordered from A Sight for Sport Eyes and had them in about a week. They are made of polycarbonate material and have a safety strap to hold them onto her head. Rec Specs is just one brand of Sports Goggles which come in several different styles. If your child wears glasses and will be playing sports, be sure to ask your eye doctor about getting them fitted for a appropriate sports goggles for their preferred sport.

For more info on Sports Eye Safety month including: a full listing of suggested eye protection by sport, a sports eye safety press release, and sports eye safety proclamation visit the AOA website.

Printable Handout on Protective Eyewear

Easter Egg Hunts for the blind & visually impaired with Beeping Eggs

Easter Egg Hunts Using Beeping Eggs

Easter is around the corner and kids love to search for colorful plastic eggs filled with loot. If you have ever gone to one of these egg hunts, you know that they are incredibly fast paced and kids have to be very fast at collecting the allotted number of eggs. For kids with special needs the egg hunts can present challenges.

And, what about the kids who cannot see these brightly colored eggs, hidden or not?

More and more communities are hosting egg hunts for special needs children including those with vision impairments. Instead of looking for eggs with their eyes, they are able to look with their ears. Visually impaired children listen for beeping, chirping, peeping, tweeting - coming from inside special sound emitting eggs and search for the eggs which may be 'hidden' in otherwise plain sight.

Some such eggs include the Hide 'Em & Find 'Em Eggs and special beeping eggs by Maxi-Aids.

The cost per egg is much higher than the 'cheap' plastic fillable eggs. Between $5-17 per egg - in comparison, packages of 12-18 plastic fillable eggs sell typically sell for around $1. At Blind egg hunts, children find the beeping eggs and then trade them in for a filled egg to bring home with them. The beeping eggs have an on/off switch and they can be turned off and then used again in future egg hunts. Organizations need only to make a one time investment in the eggs and from time to time replenish their batteries.

article originally published by me at Bella Online Vision Issues