Charles D. Fritch MD,
FACS, is a renowned
ophthalmologist, founder
of Fritch Eye Care Medical
Center, and Medical
Director of a fully equipped
Ambulatory Center.

Fritch Eye Care Medical Center
8501 Brimhall Road, Suite 401 & 402
Bakersfield, CA 93312
Tel: 661-665-2020


Eye Safety for Children

Accidents resulting in eye injuries can happen to anyone. But the fact is, over half of the victims are under age of twenty-five.

Many of these injuries, over 100,000 annually, occur during sports or recreational activities. Perhaps the most startling statistic of all is that 90% of all eye injuries could have been prevented.

Parents are advised to acquaint themselves with potentially dangerous situations at home and in school and to insist that their children use protective eyewear when participating in sports or other hazardous activities.

Children and sports

Increasing numbers of children are participating in sports at an early age.

Some sports in which children should use protective eyewear are:

  • Baseball;
  • Basketball;
  • Football;
  • Racquet sports;
  • Soccer;
  • Wrestling (one eyed);
  • Hockey (ice, roller, street);
  • Girls' lacrosse and field hockey.
  • Contact lenses offer NO PROTECTION and contact lens wearers require additional protection when participating in sports.

In baseball, ice hockey, and boys' lacrosse, a helmet with a polycarbonate (an especially strong, shatterproof, lightweight plastic) face mask or wire shield should be worn at all times. It is important that hockey face masks be approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Sports eye protectors with polycarbonate lenses should be worn for sports such as basketball, racquet sports, soccer, baseball fielders, girls' lacrosse and field hockey. Choose eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards or that pass the CSA racquet sport standard.

While skiing (snow or water), protective glasses or goggles that filter out U.V. and excessive sunlight can be useful in shielding the eyes from sunburn.

Boxing and full contact martial arts pose an extremely high risk of serious and even blinding eye injury. No adequate protection is available, although thumb less gloves may reduce the number of boxing eye injuries.

Parents of a child with permanently reduced vision in one eye (functionally one-eyed) should consider the risks of injury to the good eye before allowing their child to participate. Appropriate eye protectors may allow for participation. Check with your ophthalmologist.

Eye safety at home and in the yard

To provide the safest environment for your children, select games and toys that are appropriate for their age and responsibility level.

Provide adequate supervision and instruction when your children are handling potentially dangerous items such as pencils, scissors, forks and pen knives. Be aware that even common household items such as paper clips, bungee cords, wire coat hangers, rubber bands and fishhooks can cause serious eye injury.

Avoid projectile toys such as darts, bows and arrows, and missile-firing toys. Do no allow your children to play with non-powder rifles, pellet guns or BB guns. They are extremely dangerous and have been reclassified as firearms and removed from toy departments.

Keep all chemicals and sprays, such as sink cleaners or oven cleaners, out of reach of small children.

Do not allow children to ignite fireworks or stand near others who are doing so. All fireworks are potentially dangerous for children of all ages.

Do not allow children in the yard while a lawnmower is being operated. Stones and debris thrown from moving blades can cause severe eye injuries.

Demonstrate the use of appropriate protective eyewear to children by always wearing protective eyewear yourself while using power tools, rotary mowers, line lawn trimmers or hammering on metal.

Eye safety in school

When participating in shop or some chemistry science labs, students should wear protective goggles and/or shields that meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 safety standard.

General eye safety for children

It is strongly recommended that children with good vision in only one eye wear protective glasses to protect the good eye even if they do not need glasses otherwise. The lenses should be made of polycarbonate and have a center thickness of 2mm for daily wear and 3mm for sports.

Choosing a sturdy frame will reduce the risk of injury from the frames themselves. Frames that meet the ANSI industrial standards offer the best available protection for general spectacle wear.

Prescription lenses can be fitted into some types of sports eye protectors, but at present "empty" (lens less) frames do not provide adequate protection.

When an injury does occur

When an eye injury does occur, it is always best to have an ophthalmologist (eye physician and surgeon), or other medical doctor examine the eye as soon as possible. The seriousness of an eye injury may not be immediately obvious.

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The physicians of Fritch Eye Care Center specialize in treating Fresno LASIK, glaucoma, and cataracts patients. Using cutting-edge technology in their state-of-the-art medical facilities, these Drs. are considered to be specialists in their field.

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