Eye Care & Protection
According to The National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute, each year, 42,000 sports-related eye injuries in the United States require a trip to the emergency room — that is the equivalent of one serious eye injury every 13 minutes! The good news? 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable with the proper eye protection.
Being active is probably part of your everyday routine. Whether you are hitting the ski slopes or playing a game of racquetball, it is imperative that you protect your eyes from injury by wearing protective eyewear. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends protective eyewear (safety glasses or goggles) for all sports, regardless of whether or not you wear glasses or contacts. Studies show that protective eyewear does not hinder a player’s sight, but rather can actually aid performance because players using protective eyewear do not worry about sustaining an eye injury and can instead devote their full attention and effort to their performance.
Preventing Sports-Related Eye Injuries
The best way to prevent a sports-related eye injury is to wear sport-specific protective eyewear that fits properly. Glasses or contacts don’t provide the eye protection needed during sports or other activities. Here are some helpful tips to consider when purchasing protective eyewear:
- All protective eyewear should meet American Standards for Testing and Materials' (ASTM) impact standards.
- Lenses should be made from polycarbonate materials. These lenses provide the highest level of protection and can withstand the impact from a ball or other projectile traveling at up to 90 miles per hour.
- Everyday fashion or corrective eyewear doesn’t offer the same protection as protective eyewear labeled for sport use. For example, on impact, the lenses in regular eyeglasses can easily pop out and puncture or cut the eye. Similarly, a frame damaged by impact could also cause injury.
- Protective eyewear can be purchased at sporting goods stores as well as at eye care providers' offices.
Wearing the proper protection while engaging in sporting activities can prevent thousands of eye injuries each year. Click here for information that will help you choose protective eyewear for specific sports.
In addition to preventing sports-related eye injuries, protecting your eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays while outdoors is also important. Runners, baseball players, and even golfers and swimmers should find the proper eyewear to ensure that they are keeping their eyes safe while achieving their peak performance. For suggestions on choosing the right sunglasses for the sport you are playing, click here.