Protective eyewear is crucial for children who engage in contact sports like rugby or football. Ordinary contact lenses and spectacles do not provide adequate protection from projectiles or impact and can prove to be highly dangerous if the contact lens or glass shatters.
Modern research has contributed to the innovation of technology that has in turn helped in designing eyewear that is lightweight, durable and safe. Following are some key features to consider when purchasing eyewear for children.
High impact-resistant polycarbonate or plastic is used in constructing most frames for protective eyewear. Wraparound designs offer excellent peripheral vision, making them the best option for children who play sports.
Square goggles offer good side protection and make sure that the whole eye socket is covered by the frame, thus keeping the eye safe from UV radiation and impact whilst offering protection against flying debris and the wind.
The frame must have padding around the bridge points and temple points to protect against impact. Padding absorbs shock while ensuring that the frame itself is not responsible for causing damage to the child’s face.
An elasticized band must be used to secure the frame and it must sit tightly around the head to keep it from falling off. Non-slip rubber nose and temple grips are good additions that will keep the eyewear held firmly in place.
Polycarbonate lenses are quite thin, lightweight and very strong. Impact will not cause them to shatter unlike the lenses in regular non-sports glasses. They provide 100 per cent UV protection and offer good peripheral vision. Tinted frames can be considered if the child plays sports during the day.
A color like brown can make it easier to distinguish the ball against the green of the grass or the blue of the sky. If the child is playing during night time, then the lens must be clear to provide good visual acuity. Yellow-colored lenses are ideal as they cut the glare of overhead lighting. But on the downside, the colour of the lens can bring down visual acuity and eventually reduce reaction times.
It is essential that protective glasses or goggles are fitted correctly. Parents usually purchase larger eyewear so that the child has room to grow. While it is okay to offer a small amount of such room, sports eyewear is usually flexible and allows the user to adjust the width.
But if the frame is too large, the eyewear’s sides will tend to press against the temple and make it risky for the child in case there is an impact. Similarly, eyewear that is much too small not only makes it uncomfortable for the child, but it also obstructs his/her peripheral vision.