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Eye Protection for Athletes

As eye care professionals, we’re big fans of eye protection, and that includes eye protection in sports.

90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the right eye protection, which means 27,000 out of the annual 30,000 sports-related eye injuries in America could be avoided with this simple precaution!

Which Sports Are Most Dangerous to Eyesight?

Some sports pose a greater threat of eye injury than others. The worst culprits are airsoft and paintball, followed by racket sports and soccer. No matter what sport you play, eyewear should be part of your protective gear, but especially in these sports. The next most dangerous group of sports for eye injuries includes archery, swimming, lacrosse, hockey, football, and skiing or snowboarding.

Choosing the Best Eye Protection

It is usually possible to find specialized goggles or face masks designed for specific contact sports, but a good all-purpose option is polycarbonate goggles. These can fit over glasses, and the material resists shattering and is much stronger than ordinary plastic. You may even be able to get prescription goggles so that those fragile glasses can stay safely at home during practices and games.

Other sports can make eye protection more complicated. Water polo, for instance, can turn the very gear meant to protect eyes into a hazard themselves. When feet, hands, or elbows fly in the water, they can knock goggles into a player’s eyes and cause additional damage. Pay careful attention to USA Water Polo’s guidelines on protective gear if you need strong corrective lenses to see, but in most cases it may actually be safer to play without goggles.

Outdoor Activities and Eye Protection

If your athleticism tends less towards team sports and more towards outdoor adventuring like hiking, mountain biking, skiing, or snowboarding, then UV protection is just as important as impact resistance. Make sure to find some good UV-blocking goggles, and consider getting them with polarized lenses to reduce glare or tinted lenses that improve contrast and help you see changes in the terrain better.

We Can Help You Find Great Eye Protection Gear!

If you aren’t sure which type of eye protection is best for your favorite sport, we’re happy to offer recommendations. Give us a call or stop by the practice so that we can discuss your eyewear needs and keep you playing at the top of your form! Additionally, make sure to go straight to the eye doctor or emergency room if you or a team member ever sustain an eye injury.

Stay safe and have fun!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Author As eye care professionals, we’re big fans of eye protection, and that includes eye protection in sports. — Published August 31, 2020

Posted In Eye Health Awareness