The Importance of Sports Eye Safety

The Importance of Sports Eye Safety

We all know there are tremendous benefits of sports, including improving our fitness, building strength, boosting confidence, and working hard as an individual or team. We also know that there are risks: we can be injured. So here come the helmets, the pads, the mouthguards… this is great! It helps protect us from unnecessary damage. But what about our eyes? Sports eye safety is crucial. What do you need to know?

Why Eye Protection Matters When Playing Sports

Did you know that some of the leading causes of blindness in children are injuries related to sports? It is astonishing - enough to make you want to pull your kid from the field or court. But up to 90% of these injuries could have been avoided with proper protective eyewear. You can participate, or allow your child to participate, in activities and take effective steps to maintain eye safety and health. 

The most common types of sports-related eye injuries:

  • Blunt trauma. This is the most common cause of most sports-related eye injuries. When something (e.g. baseball) hits your eye, it can cause an orbital blowout fracture, ruptured globe, detached retinas, and less seriously, a nasty black eye.
  • Penetrating. Here, an object cuts into your eye. It could be anything from a piece of broken eyeglasses or another person’s finger. Mild to deep cuts can occur.
  • Radiation. These injuries are caused by exposure to UV light from the sun. If you’re skiing or water skiing, for example, you are at risk for radiation injuries.

When to Wear Protective Eyewear 

In many sports, eye protection is a must. These include:

  • Swimming
  • Archery
  • Football
  • Snowboarding or skiing
  • Hockey
  • Lacrosse 

Many leagues, clubs, and schools require participants wear approved protective eye gear. Ask about the requirements; you can find sport-specific options (e.g. specialized face masks, goggles) that are suitable. We’re happy to help as well.

There are other sports that do not mandate eye protection - but it’s still a good idea, particularly for children and those with glasses:

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Baseball
  • Biking 

Note: according to the American Family Physician journal, baseball and basketball result in the most eye injuries with racquet sports and water sports following close behind.

For these sports, polycarbonate goggles are a solid choice as the material is stronger than plastic and shatter-resistant. They can be worn over your regular prescription glasses or can be made to match your prescription.

When Should You Not Wear Eye Protection

Water polo, anyone? If you enjoy this sport, eye protection can actually be hazardous. Say that you get caught with a flying elbow. Your goggles are knocked askew or into your eyes. This can put you at risk for serious injury. 

Need More Help?

Whether you are starting up an after-work league, regularly compete in sports, or are signing your child up for the school team, stop by and see us at Asheville Vision Associates. We can help you select the right protective eyewear. We can also help you determine if you have conditions that put you at a higher risk for eye injuries (e.g. retinal problems).

Make an appointment today, so you can go out there and reap the benefits of sports!