How you can avoid sports-related eye injuries
This is why you and your kids need to wear protective eyewear when playing sports.
Tens of thousands of eye injuries occur each year while participating in sports and recreational activities. While most athletes don’t think twice about wearing a helmet to protect their heads or padding to cushion their bones and joints, few think about wearing protective eyewear to shield their eyes.
When playing sports, your eyes are not only at risk from flying balls and equipment, but also from being poked or hit by other player’s fingers, elbows, feet or other body parts. The sports with the highest incidence of eye injuries for all age groups include:
- Baseball / Softball
- Racquet sports
Other sports including football, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, boxing and full-contact martial arts also pose a high risk for sports-related eye injuries.
Eye injuries can be devastating and can have lifelong consequences. The good news though is that about 90% of serious eye injuries can be prevented just by wearing protective eyewear. But many youth sports leagues don’t require participants to wear safety goggles, eye guards or face masks. It’s up to parents and coaches to insist that children wear protective eyewear when they play. Adults should also protect their eyes when playing high-risk sports.
Protective eyewear should be appropriate for the sport you are playing. For example, in sports such as hockey and lacrosse, a polycarbonate face mask or wire mask should be worn. In basketball or tennis, goggles with polycarbonate lenses are more appropriate. It’s best to look for protective eyewear designed for your specific sport and check that it has been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
Wearing regular prescription glasses or sunglasses is not enough to protect your eyes. For better eye protection, choose sports-specific protective eyewear such as eye guards, goggles or face masks to help keep your eyes injury-free. This is good advice for kids as well as adults.