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Sports Eye Safety Pt. 1: Importance of Eye Safety


As part of Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month, this series will be on the importance of eye safety during any type of sport—no matter the type, risk level, or level of impact. Eyes provide a critical function for the human body, and their protection should be seriously considered.

The Importance Of Eye Safety

When participating in a sport, there is little time to think. A safe situation can easily turn sour in the blink of an eye—and that is why prevention will always be the best safety measure. This especially holds true to protecting eyes during sports and other recreational activity.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, through protective eyewear, 90% of eye injuries are preventable.

So, what exactly constitutes as appropriate eyewear? Depending on the planned activity, there can be varying methods of eye protection. At the very least, however, regular eyeglasses seldom offer proper eye protection when participating in sports. Below is a brief overview of different activities and how they relate to protective eyewear.

During High-Risk Sports

Sports that threat serious eye injuries are baseball, basketball, racquet sports, boxing, hockey, soccer, and full-contact martial arts. The following should be considered when trying to find appropriate eyewear:

  • Full-contact martial arts and boxing have no suitable eye protection, but thumbless gloves can be used to reduce the likelihood of an eye injury.
  • In sports such as baseball and ice hickey, a helmet with a face mask or wire will work to prevent serious eye injury if worn properly while playing.
  • Sport eyewear with polycarbonate lenses are suitable for most sports (such as soccer, basketball, and racquet sports).
  • Before deciding on a protective eyewear, ensure it has met the standards of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).

During Other High-Risk Leisure Activities

Eye injuries do not only occur during high-risk activities. They can even occur when participating in normal, low-risk activities conducted in daily life.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in the 2008 Eye Injury Snapshot, where physicians were surveyed, it was found more than 40% of  patients that incurred eye injuries at their place of residence were involved in such activities such as home improvement, cleaning, and cooking.

When participating in lower risk activities keep the following eye-safety tips in mind:

  • If there is the potential for flying debris, then protective eyewear may be a beneficial safety precaution.
  • Normal eyeglasses do not really provide sufficient protection.
  • During activities dealing with projectile or sharp objects, use extreme caution and be wary of using such objects near your eyes.
  • If you use some type of vision correction, such as glasses or contacts, bring a backup.

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