When we send our kids off to play football, we make sure their helmet is on tight and their pads are firmly in place. No soccer enthusiast is on the field without his or her shin guards, and a hockey game without a face mask is practically unheard of. Why is it, then, that we’re so lax about providing our children – and, when necessary, ourselves – with the appropriate protective eyewear?
At Illinois Eye Center, we use Sports Eye Safety Month as an opportunity to shine a light on just how beneficial an ounce of prevention can truly be.
Why We Celebrate Sports Eye Safety Month
There is so much focus on eye protection in the workplace, but we rarely discuss how essential it is to invest in eye protection while we’re playing volleyball or practicing our three-pointers on the basketball court. Blunt trauma, penetrating injuries, corneal abrasions, radiation exposure, chemical burns – all it takes is a little glare reflecting off the water while you waterski or an elbow to the eye socket and you could find yourself with serious damage.
Sports Eye Safety Month is the perfect time to raise awareness about the danger of sports-related eye injuries and what you can do to keep your vision intact.
Two Ways to Up Your Eye Injury Prevention
Any athlete interested in preserving their vision should invest in the proper equipment. Remember, regular eyeglasses are never a good substitute for eyewear made specifically for use during recreational and sporting events.
Secondly, be sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam every year – more often if you already wear corrective lenses or have any relevant risk factors. The sooner you catch a vision problem, the sooner it can be corrected; left undiagnosed, some vision disturbances could compromise athletic performance and reaction time, leading to a greater chance of mid-action injury.
Picking Out the Perfect Sports Eyewear
According to the National Institutes of Health, protective eyewear could help prevent some 90% of sports-related injuries. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing ophthalmologist-approved sports eyewear:
- Which sport do you play the most? Different sports require different types of eye protection, and what works on the softball field won’t be equally effective in the hockey rink or the boxing ring.
- Polycarbonate lenses offer 10 times the impact resistance compared to traditional plastics.
- If you’ll be engaging in outdoor sports, consider sun-filtering lenses that help block out UVA and UVB rays.
- While your child’s little league team may not require protective eyewear, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be worn. Eye protection is essential regardless of age or team regulations.
Every year, more than 40,000 people find themselves in the emergency room with a sports-related eye injury. Make regular appointments with your eye doctor a central part of your injury-prevention routine, and safeguard your sight, as well as your future. It’s as easy as calling up our office at 309-243-2400 to schedule an appointment or stop by one of our Optical Boutiques, with locations in Peoria and Washington!