With spring in swing and summer around the corner, kids are eager to leave the classroom for playing fields and playgrounds. It’s one of the most exciting times of the year, but parents will always want to make sure their children are keeping their bodies and their vision safe; and Dr. Vivienne Velasco of iFocus Vision Center has safety and first aid tips for every family.

“Our eyes are still growing in our childhood and teenage years,” Dr. Velasco explains. “Parents should take time to talk to their kids about the importance of protecting their vision at a young age, so they can practice healthy vision habits throughout their lives.”

Accidents are bound to happen, of course, but kids can play safe and preserve their eyesight by following these guidelines:

Always Wear Sunglasses

Dr. Velasco recommends wearing sunglasses, even on cloudy days, to prevent damage to the eyes. Always choose a pair of sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection or a UV400 sticker – lenses that block UVA and UVB wavelengths of up to 400 nanometers. Dr. Velasco also recommends polycarbonate, shatter-resistant lenses rather than plastic lenses, which are common in over-the-counter sunglasses.

Remove Contacts Before Swimming

Like adults, children take a big risk jumping into a pool or a pond while still wearing their contact lenses. Water can damage your contact lenses and collect germs, increasing your risk of an eye infection.

You should also remember to keep your eyes closed in the pool unless you’re wearing swim goggles. If you happen to get pool water in your eyes and it causes irritation, Dr. Velasco recommends rinsing your eyes out with sterile saline solution.

Swap Eyeglasses for Sports Goggles

Non-protective eyewear, such as traditional eyeglasses, can shatter easily upon impact. Dr. Velasco recommends polycarbonate lenses with built-in UV protection. Be mindful of fit, however. It’s best to consult with your eye doctor in advance for help choosing a pair of goggles that will fit properly on your child’s face and offer the best protection in the event of a collision or accident.

Resist the Urge to Rub

Kids playing in a sandbox or on a dirt lot run the risk of getting those small particles in their eyes. If this happens, tell your child not to rub the eyes. This can make things worse. Instead, wash the eyes out with water.

Keep a Cold Compress Handy

Kids love to play, and it’s not uncommon for an elbow or a ball to accidentally strike the eye and cause immediate swelling. The best treatment is a cold compress. Place it over the affected area to reduce swelling and pain, and take your child to an eye doctor if the injury is serious.

iFocus Vision Center remains open with strict guidelines in place to protect patients and staff members. Patients with an urgent need are seen by appointment only, and iFocus offers curbside pickup for eyeglasses or contact lens refills. To schedule an appointment, contact us at 702-473-5660.