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Sports Safety Month – Options for Eye Protection

September 01, 2023

Wondering if you really need to wear eye protection while playing your favorite sport or if it’s just another way to get you to buy more gear? There are over 40,000 eye injuries caused by sports every year, but only some sports put your eyes at a heightened risk. Here’s a summary of the sports that should involve eye protection and why it’s so important.  

What Eye Injuries Can Protection Prevent?  

Wearing eye protection that’s appropriate to your sport can save you from: 

  • Scratches on the cornea, which is the clear front part of your eye  

  • Inflammation in your iris, which is the colored part of your eye  

  • Blood in the clear part of your eye, between your cornea and iris 

  • Clouding of the lens of your eye, known as a traumatic cataract 

  • A detached retina, which is when the front layer of the eye becomes detaches from the back of the eye  

  • An eye socket fracture, which is when the bone surrounding your eye breaks  

Types of Eye Protection  

Now that you know the potential eye injuries that can result from sports, let’s explore which sports put you at the greatest risk, and the best type of eye protection to use.  

Faceguard or Visor 

A polycarbonate face guard or visor attached to your helmet provides the utmost protection when playing a variety of sports. You can get completely clear guards that do not hinder your vision. They are impact resistant and shatterproof, plus they provide UV protection.  

Wear when playing: 

  • Baseball 

  • Softball  

  • Football 

  • Hockey (polycarbonate or wire) 

Sports Eye Guards  

Sports eye guards, better known as goggles, provide protection from dirt, dust, and debris. These are not as protective as faceguards, but can be ideal for certain sports, like:  

  • Baseball 

  • Soccer 

  • Lacrosse 

  • Field hockey 

  • Racket sports 

Tips for Protecting Your Vision While Playing

When you’re out having fun, safety is often the last thing on your mind, but there are a few simple steps you can take to protect your vision and keep you in the game for life, like: 

  • Wearing sunglasses when spectating outdoor sports to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays 

  • Putting on a hat or sports visor to keep the sun out of your eyes when playing outdoors, when sunglasses aren’t an option  

  • Using goggles whenever you’re playing in an environment where debris, dust, or dirt could get kicked up into your eyes 

  • Always wearing your helmet and other protective equipment, even during practice when you don’t think things will get too rough 

Accidents happen, but with proper protection in place, you can just laugh them off and get back in the game without missing a beat. While eye protection might not be the coolest gear around, you’ll appreciate it next time your eyes find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Don’t Forget Your Routine Eye Exam 

If you play sports, don’t let your vision fall to the sidelines. Aside from sports-related risks, your eyes deserve a routine checkup to make sure everything is going smoothly.  

Contact a Vision Center South doctor nearest you today to schedule your checkup if you have eye concerns or haven’t been in the past 12 months. A routine exam can help you with early detection, treatment, and prevention of countless common conditions that can lead to blindness, even if you think you’re perfectly healthy.  

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