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Features to consider when purchasing sports glasses for kids

young girl wearing sports glasses outdoors

When your child participates in sports, eye safety should be taken very seriously, as eye injuries can lead to serious and long-term vision problems.

Everyday eyeglasses don't provide enough protection from fast-flying balls, pucks and elbows.

Fortunately, there are lots of sports glasses for kids on the market, which provide the safety and comfort needed for optimal athletic performance.

This guide will help you determine the best sports glasses for your child, based on features, materials and overall ratings.

Why your athlete child needs protective sports glasses

Approximately 40,000 sports-related eye injuries are severe enough to require emergency room care in the United States every year, according to Prevent Blindness America. Experts say that 90% of these injuries could be prevented with protective eyeglasses.

What are the best protective glasses for children? That depends on your young athlete's sports (or sports) of choice. Basketball and soccer feature fast-moving balls. 

Basketball also involves close contact with hands, arms and elbows — all of which could hit or poke an eye. Shatter-resistant sports goggles or eyeglasses with a strap to keep the eyeglasses from flying off could be an important addition to your child’s protective gear.

Sports glasses also can protect your young athlete's eyes from debris. For example, baseball and softball players kick up a great deal of dust running from base to base.

Swimming, lacrosse and fencing require a different kind of protective glasses, such as waterproof goggles and face masks

Bottom line: Whatever sport your child enjoys, it’s important that his or her eyes are protected appropriately.

SEE RELATED: Eyewear that protects your child's eyes

What to look for when buying sports glasses for kids

Once you determine what type of sport glasses offer the best protection for your son or daughter's sport, you should assess how the glasses fit, what makes them safe and durable, and the amount of comfort they provide for your child. 

Protection and fit

The American Society for Testing and Materials has protective eyewear standards for different sports — F803 being the most protective rating. Not all sport glasses are available with the F803 rating.

Beyond protection, another feature to look for in sports glasses is fit and comfort.

If your son's or daughter's sports glasses are too loose, their eyes are unprotected for a spell and your child's glasses could break when they hit the court or field.

To protect your investment in your child's sports glasses, spring for adjustable bands and nose pads keep the glasses secure and comfortable.

If your child's sport has him or her playing outside, sports sunglasses will add protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Certain lens tints also can make a difference in blocking distracting brightness.

Coatings, such as anti-reflective and anti-fog coatings, can help your child see more clearly during games and prevent distracting fog that develops from perspiration and humid outdoor climates.

Durable lens materials

Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses are more lightweight than regular plastic lenses. This makes them more comfortable to wear, in addition to the optimal safety they can provide for your child.

Most sports glasses are available with both prescription and non-prescription lenses, so even if your child does not need corrective lenses to see, the added protection of sports glasses can be beneficial.

The best style of frames and adjustable bands will vary depending on your child's athletic activity. When in doubt, ask an eye care professional.

SEE RELATED: Sports eyewear for teens and young athletes

Top-rated sports glasses for kids

The most popular sports glasses for kids are highly rated for many reasons including comfort, safety, style and price. Some of the most popular sports glasses and sunglasses for kids include:

Sports eyeglasses for kids

Rec Specs Maxx 31: Ideal for soccer, basketball and football, these frames have adjustable straps and come in a variety of colors.

Wiley X Gamer: The Wiley X frame family is top rated for the common sports including soccer, football, basketball and tennis. The Wiley X Gamer frames in particular are helmet compatible and have a removable elastic strap, making them versatile for different activities.

Oakley Crosslink XS (Youth): Does your child have softball practice after school? These glasses are great for transitioning from one activity to the next, with notable comfort and visual clarity. There are also more than 10 frame colors to choose from, so your child could potentially match their glasses to their athletic uniforms.

READ NEXT: How sports glasses can help young children who aren’t ready for contacts

Sport sunglasses for kids

Oakley Radar EV XS: These frames include an interchangeable shield lens for optimal vision and a non-slip fit with an unobtainium rubber frame material.

Oakley Quarter Jacket: Lightweight, comfortable and prescription ready, these frames share many of the same benefits as the Oakley Radar EV XS frames, and are just as highly rated.

NIKE Skylon Ace XV JR: These lenses include a vented nose piece, which helps to reduce fogging. Nike Max Optic lenses improve your child’s vision in addition to the overall comfort and performance of these glasses.

At the end of the day, your child’s personal preferences and needs will be the best deciding factor for his or her sports glasses. This may require additional research on your part, but it is worth it to keep your child happy and his or her eyes safe during athletic activity.

SEE RELATED: Sports Eye Safety Month

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