Protect Your Eye When Playing Sports This Spring
If your sports gear doesn't include eye protection, you won't be appropriately dressed for your favorite spring sport. Wearing safety glasses, goggles or other types of eye protection offers a simple way to prevent injuries that could damage your vision.
Don't Put Your Vision at Risk Due to a Sports Injury
Eye injuries, like most injuries, often happen without warning. While you're scrambling for the ball, an opposing player could accidentally poke your eye with his fingers, or you might puncture or scratch your eye on a sharp stick if you fall during a pick-up soccer game at the park.
Injuries happen in every sport, although some sports are more dangerous than others. According to an eye injury study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, almost 50% of all eye injuries treated in emergency rooms occur in people who use paintball guns or air guns or play basketball or baseball. In many cases, sports-related eye injuries could have been easily prevented simply by using eye protection.
If you normally wear eyeglasses, you may assume that you don't need to use safety glasses, goggles or face shields Although eyeglasses are intended to help you see clearly, they don't offer much protection for your eyes. Glasses may break if you fall, are hit in the face, or collide with another player. Since glasses don't cover your eyes completely, you're still at risk of damage from foreign objects, like dirt or sand or even an airborne string from a broken tennis racquet.
Choosing the Best Eye Protection for Your Sport
When you shop for eye protection, look for safety glasses or goggles that are:
- Unbreakable. Shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses offer the best protection for your eyes. Pair them with lightweight polycarbonate frames or frames made of high-impact plastic or nylon.
- Comfortable. Comfort is an important consideration when selecting a pair of goggles or safety glasses. Your eye doctor can help you find a pair of goggles or safety glasses that fit your face perfectly.
- Fog- and Scratch-Free. It won't be easy to spot the ball or the other players on the field are if your goggles fog up or are covered with scratches. Fortunately, special coatings can be added to your lenses to prevent fogging and scratches.
- Ideal for Your Sport. Eye protection needs vary depending on the sport. If you play several sports, you may need different types of goggles for each one. Adding a tint to your lenses reduces glare and can be a good option if you play an outdoor sport.
Eye protection won't be very effective unless you wear your safety glasses or goggles every time you play or practice, even if you're just planning a quick practice session.
Examine your eye protection regularly for signs of damage or scratched lenses that could affect your ability to see clearly. If your eyewear is damaged, replace it as soon as possible.
Do you usually wear glasses? Although eye protection is often designed to fit over eyeglasses, you may be more comfortable wearing prescription goggles or safety glasses.
Good vision is an essential part of playing sports. Unfortunately, your performance can be affected if an injury damages your vision or you have an undiagnosed vision problem that affects your ability to react quickly or anticipate where the ball will land.
Vision therapy can help you improve your timing, peripheral vision and other visual skills essential for sports. The therapy involves activities, computer games and devices that improve the connection between the eyes and the brain.
Interested in learning if vision therapy could help you enhance your sports performance? Contact our office to schedule a comprehensive vision exam.
National Eye Institute: Sports and Eye Safety Tips for Parents and Teachers, 7/1/2019
Prevent Blindness: Protect Your Eyes While Playing Sports, 8/23/2011
American Academy of Ophthalmology: Basketball a Leading Cause of Sports-Related Eye Injury, 1/11/2017
All About Vision: Eye Protection for Sports: How to Choose Sports Goggles, 1/2022