More than 40,000 people seek treatment for sports-related eye injuries each year, so it’s no surprise that September has been designated Sports Eye Safety Month. For all of you sport enthusiasts out there: there’s no need to panic. 90 percent of serious eye injuries can be prevented through the use of appropriate protective eyewear.
Although eye injuries can occur when playing any sport, they’re most common in baseball, basketball and racquet sports. When seeking protective eyewear, look for products that are ASTM F803 approved, which ensures the eyewear is performance tested and will provide the highest level of protection. Protective eyewear should also be made of polycarbonate, as it is the most impact resistant material. Eyewear without lenses should not be used. Instead, look for lenses that either stay in place or pop outward on impact.
Protective eyewear should fit comfortably and have cushioning along the brow and the bridge of the nose to prevent cutting your skin. If you require a prescription and don’t use contacts, your protective eyewear should match your prescription. For people who wear glasses, it’s vital to remember that regular glasses don’t provide protection and may shatter on impact, injuring the eye further. When participating in outdoor sports, choose eyewear with 100% UV protection and glare reduction to help prevent cataracts and ocular surface cancer.
The best level of eye protection varies between sports. For baseball, ice hockey and men’s lacrosse, a helmet with a polycarbonate facemask or wire shield should be worn at all times. For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, protective, polycarbonate eyewear should be utilized. Unfortunately, when it comes to sports such as boxing and full-contact martial arts, there is no satisfactory eye protection. Both sports pose risk of serious and possibly blinding injuries.
So, next time you suit up for the field, tennis court or a friendly game of backyard football, don’t forget your protective eyewear. Protect your eyes to protect your future.
For a great selection of protective eyewear, check out our Optical Boutique.