With the start of the new school year comes a surge in sports participation. Athletes in soccer, softball, football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, skiing, track, wrestling, hockey, lacrosse and more are ramping up for a competitive year. Whether they are 5 or 50, these athletes need proper eye safety training and equipment to prevent serious eye injuries or even blindness from occurring. Colorado Ophthalmology Associates of Denver, CO, follows the guidelines set by the National Eye Institute (NIH) making September our national Sports Eye Safety Month.
The bad news is eye injuries are a leading cause of blindness in children in the United States.1 The good news is many sports-related eye injuries are preventable. With the proper protective equipment, your son or daughter can safely enjoy years of exciting sports participation.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, almost 30,000 cases of eye injuries caused by sports are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year. Of these eye injuries, 90% of them could have been prevented.2
Who Should Wear Protective Eyewear?
Every participant in a sport should wear protective eyewear every time. If you have contacts or glasses, your safety eyewear can be made to fit your prescription. If you are playing a high contact sport, sport goggles are especially important. Protective eyewear should always be worn, whether it is practice, a game or just informal play.
If you wear glasses, they are not considered protective eyewear. Glasses are not enough to protect your eyes and can actually cause an injury if they shatter.
What Kinds of Protective Eyewear are Available?
- Sports goggles made with polycarbonate lenses are the top pick among athletes. Fastened with a flexible strap, these lightweight goggles protect the eye from all angles and can be made to prescription.
- Face shields made of a polycarbonate material are also a good option for many different kinds of athletes.
- Sunglasses with UV protection are used by bicyclists and track athletes who need protection from the wind, dirt and sun but not necessarily from physical contact.
- Swim goggles can protect the eyes from dirt, germs and chemicals that would enter the body through exposure.
- Helmets with a faceguard are essential for batting and football, allowing protective space around the face and eyes.
- Masks are essential protection for sports such as hockey, fencing or paintball.3
What to Do if Your Eyes are Injured
In the case of an eye injury during sports, play or work, come to Colorado Ophthalmology Associates immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. Even if the injury seems minor, it is important to have the eye examined immediately by a qualified health professional. Untreated eye injuries can become complicated over time.
Get Your Goggles On
Signed up for a sport? Call today for a sports safety goggle or mask fitting, or come to one of our two Colorado locations for all-inclusive optical exams. We can order the right sports eyewear to give you long lasting protection as you play.
Our board-certified ophthalmologists are here to help you find the right protective wear for the right sport. Let us help you try to prevent eye injuries that could lead to blindness or permanent eye impairment so you can enjoy the thrill of the sport with less risk to your vision.