Each year, an estimated 100,000 people are hurt by sports-related eye injuries. About 13,500 of these injuries result in permanent vision loss. In support of Sports Eye Safety Month this April, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds athletes everywhere that the great majority of sports-related eye injuries can be avoided by simply wearing the proper protection.
Sports eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racquet sports. However, the vast majority of these eye injuries can be prevented by wearing proper eye protection.
Before taking the field to play, take the proper steps to keep your eyes safe. Here are some safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology that will help you keep an eye on the ball and eye safety first:
- If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, ask your eye doctor about prescription protective sports eyewear. There are certified helmets with attached safety glasses for baseball batters and base runners; fielders can get certified protective eyewear.
- Sports safety glasses must meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety standards. Eyewear designed to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) industrial standards does not meet the safety standards for sports eye protection.
- All prescription sports glasses should be made from polycarbonate material because it resists shattering and provides UV (ultraviolet light) protection. If the protective lenses have turned yellow over time, have them replaced, as the polycarbonate material may have weakened with age.
- Sports goggles provide the best eye protection. However, they may not fit narrow faces well. In this case, the best option is certified sports glasses with 3-millimeter-thick polycarbonate lenses.
- Any player who has vision loss in one eye should always wear eye-protective eyewear recommended by your doctor to protect their remaining vision.
If you receive an eye injury, you should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible to fully assess the damage to your eye and ensure prompt treatment.
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At Golden Eye Optometry, we view good vision care as front line protection at every age. A routine eye exam can detect more than poor vision. It can shed early light on glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes.