It is estimated that 40,000 sports-related eye injuries occur every year – 90% of which can be prevented. For Sports Eye Safety Month, Optical Solutions urges you and your family to use proper eye protection while participating in sports and other physical activity.
From basketball to baseball, and from swimming to skiing, the risk of eye injury can vary, but in all sports and activity the risk of injury can be greatly reduced by simply using protective eyewear.
To reduce the risk of eye injury, vision experts recommend wearing protective eyewear made of an ultra-strong polycarbonate, a highly impact-resistant plastic. In fact, polycarbonate is 10 times more impact resistant than other plastics.5
Eye protection is most important for those sports that involve small, high velocity projectiles. However, no matter the risk category of the sport, all athletes are encouraged to wear protective eyewear appropriate to their sport. Sports are classified into four categories based on the risk of sustaining an eye injury. High-risk sports include: paintball, basketball, and racquetball. Moderate-risk sports include: tennis, soccer, and golf. Low-risk sports do not involve high-speed balls, swinging clubs or bats, or close aggressive play, and include swimming and cycling. Safe sports include track and field and gymnastics.1,3,4
Keep the following items in mind when purchasing protective eyewear: 1.) ensure the eyewear fits and is comfortable, 2.) check to make sure the eyewear meets the standards set by the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM), and 3.) verify that the eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate.6,7
It is important to remember that glass lenses or regular vision correcting contact lenses do not provide adequate protection when participating in sports. In some situations, they can even increase the risk or severity of eye injury.4
In addition to polycarbonate eye protection, it is always recommended that you wear sunglasses for outdoor sports, such as skiing and waterskiing, to reduce the risk of sun-related eye problems. Wearing sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB sun rays can protect you from developing ocular surface cancer and cataracts. Choose sunglasses that: 1.) reduce glare, 2.) block 99 or 100 percent of UV rays, and 3.) are comfortable to wear.8
- Mishra, A., & Verma, B. (2012). Sports related ocular injuries. Medical Journal Armed Forces India,68(3), 260-266. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377123712000603
- Diseases and conditions. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health-information/
- Vinger, P. (n.d.). The mechanisms and prevention of sports eye injuries.
- The International Federation Of Sports Medicine. (n.d.). Eye injuries and eye protection in sports. FIMS Position Statement, Retrieved from http://www.sportseyeinjuries.com/docs/FIMS_Position_Statement.pdf