When playing sports, most people do well in protecting their arms, legs, and teeth. But eye protection is often overlooked. While some sports require protective eyewear, we should consider eye protection for other activities, as well. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), 90% of serious eye injuries could be prevented with appropriate protective eyewear.
One of the leading causes of blindness in children is eye injuries, most of them sports-related. When participating in sports, many parents do not consider the damage a stray ball, puck, or bat can inflict if it hits the eye. According to Prevent Blindness, more eye injuries occur from basketball more than any other sport, yet few parents have their children wear eye protection. Other sports where eye injury is common are baseball, ice hockey, and lacrosse. While there is eye protection for kids who play baseball according to the Vision Council, batted baseballs are 3.5 times more likely to cause eye damage than a pitched ball. Unfortunately, most players do not use protective eyewear when they are not at-bat.
Every 13 minutes an emergency room in the U.S. treats a sports-related eye injury for children and adults. Eye injuries can range from a scratched cornea, inflamed iris, detached retinas, or fractured eye socket. Children and teens that participate in sports that use a ball or racket, or involves rough contact with other players, should consider safety glasses, goggles, or face shields to better protect their vision. If you are unsure of what protection is needed, our optometrists can help pick the correct eye gear to keep you playing at your best.