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Safety Eyewear Joining Slip, Slop, Slap

New research suggests protective glasses for children playing sport could become as ingrained in the psyche of children as the time-honoured “no hat, no play” policy employed by many schools.

Growing evidence suggests that there is considerable risk to children’s eyes from both sun damage and sports related injuries. Researchers say that this is the flip side to children’s eyes not developing properly if too much time is spent inside watching television and computer screens.

A trust established by a relative of leading paediatric ophthalmologist Mary Bremner, the $3 million Joyce Henderson Fellowship, is being used for childhood eye injury research at both Princess Margaret Hospital and the Lions Eye Institute.

Annette Hoskin, Lions Eye Institute research fellow, said the requirement for children to wear sunglasses and other protective eyewear was a key issue being investigated.

“The premise is that it’s all great to be outside and encouraging people to be less interactive with small screens and doing more sport, but so long as you do it in a safe way,” she said. “It’s about working out how much time to spend outside and the optimum time of the day.”

Ms Hoskin also suggested that there was evidence that children’s eye injuries from racquet sports was increasing but any sport that involves balls, sticks, bats or collisions could also involve risks.

She continued that there was likely to be growing pressure for schools to insist that children must wear eye protection.

The research included an analysis of UV eye damage in children who played sports with high levels of sun exposure and a trauma audit to track eye injuries from magpie attacks.

Original report by Cathy O’Leary, Medical Editor, The West Australian

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