Children’s Vision and Sports

Swimming goggles

Does your child play sports? Don’t forget the protective eye gear! Dr. Joseph Chan explains what every parent needs to know.

Children’s Vision and Sports

By: Dr. Joseph Chan

Each day, your child likely participates in some physical activity, whether it is kicking a ball at recess or participating in a formal sports league. Seeing well ensures that they are always playing at their best. Protecting the eyes is important as well, since injuries can happen at any age.

Good vision and eye health starts with a visit to your optometrist. Children should have their first eye exam at 6 months of age, again at the age of 3, then annually thereafter. By doing this, vision and eye health can be properly evaluated to identify any eye problems that might affect your child’s ability to see and learn. When both eyes work well together and can see clearly at all distances, your child can master new sports with greater ease.

Some children do need glasses to see properly. For certain sports, wearing regular glasses may be a challenge though and other alternatives could be considered. Sports glasses can be used for sports like bicycling and basketball. For water sports, prescription swim goggles may be appropriate. Contact lenses are also a consideration for children who are active in competitive sports. While there is no specific age requirement for when children can start wearing contact lenses, the child should be mature enough to insert and remove the contact lenses themselves. As well, they need to be responsible enough to keep the lenses clean and disinfected. Parents can discuss these options with their optometrist to determine the best alternative for their child.

Parents should ensure that protective eyewear be used for high-risk activities, such as hockey. Visors to protect the eyes and face are always a good idea. Protective sports glasses are useful for racquet sports, like squash.

If your child is injured, it is important to assess the risk of eye damage to determine whether further attention is required. Whenever there has been a direct blow to the eye or the adjacent region, an immediate visit to your optometrist is warranted. They will determine if there is any internal damage to the eye, such as retinal detachments or bleeding inside the eye. Sometimes, the impact can even cause a “blow-out fracture” where the bony structure that protects the eye gets damaged. Certain head injuries may also affect the eye. If your child suffers a fall or blow to the head, a visit to your optometrist may be important, particularly if there is any change to their vision.

To find an optometrist near you, please visit our website or call toll free 800-540-3837 FREE to book an appointment.

Annual children’s eye exams are covered by Provincial Health Insurance (OHIP) in Ontario until 19 years of age.

Dr Joseph Chan
Ontario Association of Optometrists


Be sure to check out previous articles generously written for us by the doctors of the OAO, including:

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I founded Mums 'n Chums in 2009 after realizing that the area I live in was drastically underserviced as compared to surrounding areas for support and activities for growing families. Mums 'n Chums grew popular very quickly and I have been dedicated to nurturing that growth through frequent networking, social media engagement and in person meetups. By the end of its first year, Mums 'n Chums had close to 500 members and was receiving regular inquiries from fans outside of its service area, asking when we would be expanding to serve them as well. After much careful research and polling, I expanded the site in May of 2011 to cover the entire North end of the GTA (from Cambridge to Markham), areas I believe are still receiving far less attention than they deserve from other sites and family services. We also changed the focus from small scale local mom and tot meetups to more of an informative purpose, closing down our forum and adding several talented contributors to the blog. We do still offer several large scale family events per year, such as our popular Birthday Bash events and our Holiday Bash in December. Our contests have also become a member favourite, and we strive to offer amazing prizes from trusted brands like Babies R Us, La Roche Posay, Johnson's Baby and many more. In March of 2016, after months of work spent migrating all of the site's content to a new platform, Mums 'n Chums re-launched with its fresh, new look. The changes and expansion have proven a great success and we're still getting inquiries from several other cities within the Greater Toronto Area, whom we have decided to serve as well. I have built this site and its' reputation carefully and look forward to continuing its growth!

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