September is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month
For all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racquet sports. However, water sports and activities were the second most-reported sports-related eye injury. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tens of thousands of sports and recreation related eye injuries occur each year – 90 percent of which can be prevented. Eye injuries from any sport can include infection, corneal abrasions, blunt trauma, inflamed iris, fracture of the eye socket and even swollen/detached retinas. Additionally, in some cases, a significant eye injury can cause permanent vision loss.
Because most eye injuries can be avoided by wearing proper protection, to reduce the risk of eye injury vision experts recommend wearing protective eyewear made of an ultra-strong polycarbonate – a highly impact-resistant plastic that is 10 times more impact resistant than other plastics. Since September is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month, we thought we’d share some tips on how to preserve those peepers with protective eyewear.
- Sports protective eyewear should be labeled as ASTM F803 approved. Check the packaging to ensure that the eye protector selected has been tested for sports use.
- Make sure the lenses either stay in place or pop outward in the event of an accident. Lenses that pop toward the eyes can be very dangerous.
- Sports eye protection should be cushioned or padded along the brow and bridge of the nose.
- If possible, try the eyewear on first to determine if it’s the right fit before purchasing. Adjust the strap and make sure it’s not too tight or too loose.
- Fogging of the lenses can be a problem; therefore it helps to look for types of protective eyewear that offer anti-fog coating.
- Last but not least, all athletes should receive an eye exam from an eye care professional!
Even though most activities do not require protective eyewear, both children and adults should always wear activity-appropriate protective eyewear whenever possible. It is important to remember that glass lenses or contacts do not provide adequate protection while playing sports. Protective eyewear is readily available and can range from $20 to $40 for basic eyewear, and $60 or more if the lens is prescription. Though you may think of this as an added expense, your vision is priceless.