According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are more than 40,000 sports-related eye injuries treated in ERs every year. It is important that those who participate in sports have reliable eye protection to reduce the risk of eye injuries.
Most eye injuries occur in sports that involve physical contact, the use of balls of any kind, racquets, or any moving objects. Some of the riskier sports that can potentially injure the eyes include squash, hockey, boxing, basketball, football, cricket, martial arts, and more.
Most eye injuries take place unexpectedly. Even sports that seem harmless, such as tennis, badminton, and racquetball can benefit from protection. These sports feature fast, flying objects that sometimes go on an unpredictable path.
Of course, on any sport there is always a potential risk of eye injury where any moving objects are involved. This means it is always a good idea for the participants to protect the eyes from possible injuries.
Why is Eye Protection Important During Sports?
When an eye injury takes place, it can sometimes be difficult to restore the natural vision and function of the eye. In a worst case scenario, the damage can be irreparable and even end in blindness. This is why we recommend protective gear for the eyes, even if only during the most intense of play.
Modern technology has created an opportunity for every athlete to acquire protective goggles and glasses that come in different styles. Many of these also offer the added benefit of UV protection. At a bare minimum, a pair of “wrap-around” glasses such as Oakley style frames can offer good protection for the eyes without compromising style.
Most athletes today play with corrected vision, either LASIK, contact lenses, or glasses, due to the realization that playing and engaging in sports with the clearest and sharpest vision possible is an important element to getting the best possible performance (and to winning!).
People with poor vision are discouraged from joining sports that they love due to their current circumstances. Participating in sports with limited or poor vision can hurt your performance and even create a safety issue, as being able to be aware of your surroundings during often dangerous sports is crucial.
Fortunately, there is now prescription eyewear that has been created in order to accommodate the needs of athletes who wear glasses or contact lenses. With this, sports-lovers are not just offered a chance to explore their passions, but are also made aware that wearing prescription eyewear can help enhance their performance while allowing them to play at their best.
Common and Possible Eye Injuries You Can Get During Sports
Eye injuries most commonly occur from a lack of proper preparation and safety equipment. Listed below are the most common and possible eye injuries you can get during sports.
This kind of eye injury is something that cuts into the athlete’s eye. Compared to the other eye injuries we have on the list, penetration is less common. Damage typically ranges from mild to moderate depending on the sport and the object that penetrates the eye (during contact sports this is most typically a fingernail). Protecting your eyes during sports is necessary to prevent this injury from happening.
Eye injuries can occur without contact from a foreign body. Radiation damage is caused by too much exposure to the sun, common with most sports. This is a result of UV rays that are harmful to the eyes. Athletes who play under intense sunlight, including water and snow sports, are at additional risk for radiation injuries as the effects of the sun’s rays are magnified. Fortunately, it is easy to protect your eyes from UV damage with the same kind of protective devices used to prevent physical injury. Make sure the gear you are purchasing protects from UV rays.
Of all the eye injuries we have on the list, this is the most common and potentially, the most harmful. Blunt trauma involves the athlete’s eye being struck by an object such as a bat, elbow or ball. The harm damage to the eyes will depend on the level of the force, as well as the offending object.
All these eye injuries – mild or major – can be prevented with protective eyewear. No matter how intense the game is, protecting your eyes during sports is important to both your health and enjoyment. If you have healthy eyes, you can give the best performance.
Types of Protective Eyewear
We keep reiterating that eyewear helps protect your eyes during sports. So, what exactly is protective eyewear, anyway? And what can it do to help protect your eyes? There are several types of protective eyewear available for you to choose from, and most are helpful in reducing the risk of injury. Here are some types:
Some of the most dangerous sports employ face guards, masks or helmets to protect your eyes, face, and head during sports. Sports that typically fall under this category are football, hockey, fencing, cricket and more. These devices are usually successful in protecting both the eyes and face.
Contact lenses do not offer any real protection for your eyes alone. They are, however, often preferred by athletes due to the fact that glasses frames and lens edges can be distracting during sports. Contacts also offer superior peripheral vision. They can easily be paired with protection goggles, which makes them ideal if you do not want to purchase prescription protective gear.
The most comprehensive eye protection available is usually protection eyewear/goggles. These are most often made of polycarbonate, which is highly resistant to impact and unlikely to shatter. They are also most commonly designed to prevent foreign objects from entering the eyes, due to their wraparound design. Many models also offer excellent UV protection. Lastly, there are a wide variety of styles available, and many are fashion forward.
When buying, there are many features available to you, as well as styles. You should create a list of what is most important to you (UV protection, style, etc.) and focus on finding a pair that fits your needs.
Protective Eyewear for Young Athletes
Like adults, young athletes also need eye protection during sports. In 2008, a third of the 42,000 eye injuries that year happened to young athletes. This often is the case due to safety and gear requirements that are less than ideal. They are often not required to wear goggles, masks, shields, glasses or any protective eyewear.
So, if you are a parent, a coach or anyone involved in children’s sports, it is important that you understand how necessary protective eyewear is to the eye safety of young athletes. As a young athlete, at the same time, you should also encourage your colleagues and guardians about the idea of protecting your eyes during sports. As parents, you know that sight is one of the most important senses, so precautionary measures should be practiced before you let your children jump on the field.
Talk to Your Doctor Today!
If you are not sure of what to wear, the best thing to do is to talk to your ophthalmologist to address the issue. Ask your eye doctor these guided questions to know your specific eyewear needs:
Are there any advantages or risk associated with wearing a specific protective eyewear?
Can I have contact lenses worn under goggles?
How often should I replace the protective eyewear?
Do you have a recommendation of where can I locally get the best deals to buy the protective eyewear?
What kind of protective eyewear will work to the kind of sport I am participating?
By asking your ophthalmologist these questions, you can avoid the hassle of buying the wrong solution for you or your child. By knowing everything beforehand, you can have a peace of mind that you are getting the right protective eyewear for your specific needs. Protecting your eyes during sports will start by talking to the right person.
Having clear vision during athletic activity makes a difference. Know your needs and don’t jump straight on the field without any eye protection. Whether it is just a warm-up, training or a total competition, you should always have protection for your eyes whenever possible. Ready to order protective eyewear or glasses for you or your child? Contact one of our optical centers today. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you choose eye protection that fits your needs.