More than 600,000 sports-related eye injuries occur every year. An alarming 90 percent of those serious eye injuries could have been prevented through use of appropriate protective eyewear.
Although some sports organizations require shin, knee, and/or mouth guards, most youth sports leagues do not require the use of eye protection. It is up to the parents and coaches to insist that their children wear safety glasses or goggles whenever they play. All children need protective eyewear regardless of whether or not they wear glasses or contacts.
Sports with the highest incidence of eye injuries include: baseball, basketball and racquet sports. Children’s sports eye injuries can range from abrasions of the cornea and bruises of the lid to internal eye injuries, such as retinal detachments and internal bleeding.
The cost of treating sports-related eye injuries in the United States adds up to more than of more than $175 million per year in healthcare costs!
Prevent Blindness America recommends that "athletes wear sports eyeguards when participating in sports. Prescription glasses, sunglasses and even occupational safety glasses do not provide adequate protection."
Young atheletes wearing Liberty Sport goggles
Protective eyeguards must fit properly and must be made from materials that meet the impact standards of the American Standards for Testing and Materials (ASTM). To prevent the frame from cutting into your skin and to improve comfort, eyeguards should be padded or cushioned along the browline and bridge of the nose.
The sports goggle straps must adjustable and the right length. If the straps are too loose, the goggles may fall off while playing. If the straps are too tight, it may cause headaches and/or pain.
Additionally, lenses must be made with polycarbonate material, which provides the highest level of impact protection. The lenses should stay in place and not be able to pop out. Lenses which come undone easily can hit and damage your eye.
If the lenses become foggy, purchase eyeguards that come equipped with side vents for ventilation. If your eyeguard does not have vents, an anti-fogging coating can be applied to the lenses for a similar effect.
Whether you have good vision without optical correction, wear glasses, or wear contact lenses, it is important to shield your eyes from harm while playing sports with protective goggles and/or eye masks. Protective eyewear can be purchased at sporting goods stores as well as eye care professionals’ offices.
To learn more about Sports Eye Safety and what type of sports goggles to choose, please visit the following pages:
Prevent Blindness: Recommended Sports Eye Protectors
Eye Safety At a Glance: Protecting Your Child's Vision in Sports
Tips for Buying Sports Eye Protectors
Choosing Sports Eye Protection Based on Activity