It's back to school time! Kids are feeling excited and maybe a little nervous. New teachers, new friends and new sports seasons. Parents are scrambling to buy back-to-school clothes and equip their children with all the sports gear they need, like helmets, pads, braces and mouth guards. Parents are taking that extra step to prevent broken bones, bruises and chipped teeth, but what are they doing to prevent possible permanent vision loss, a scratched cornea, or fractured eye sockets?

A serious eye injury can leave your child on the side lines or bench longer than they would like. The Pennsylvania Association for the Blind encourages you to take the following steps to ensure your child can enjoy their favorite sports this season safely.

-- Wear proper eye guards (lensed polycarbonate protectors) for racquet sports, basket ball, tennis or volleyball;

-- Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for baseball and softball;

-- Use helmets and face shields approved by the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association when playing hockey.

Regular reading glasses or sunglasses or even safety glasses don't provide the necessary eye protection for many sports. Purchase eye guards at sports stores or your local optical store. Ask someone familiar with your child's eyesight to fit them properly and make sure the eye guard contains cushioning along the eyebrow and the edge of the nose to help prevent athletes from cutting or damaging his or her face.

Source: Pennsylvania Association for the Blind

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