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September is Sports Eye Safety Month

From basketball to baseball, and from swimming to skiing, the risk of eye injury can vary, but in all sports and activity the risk of injury can be greatly reduced by simply using protective eyewear.

At Lentz Eye Care we encourage anyone who participates in sports to protect their eyes. Sports are the leading cause of eye injuries in children under the age of 16. Many people are unaware of how serious sports injuries are, and that these kind of injuries could lead to irreversible eye damage. 

When playing sports, we often take precautions to protect our arms, legs, fingers, and so on from unnecessary damage.

While all of that is great, it’s even more important to protect our eyes. Some sports actually require protective eyewear, but even for the ones that don’t, we need to recognize when and how we should be protecting our eyes.

Why Does Eye Protection Matter?

One of the leading causes of blindness in children is eye injuries, and most of these injuries are sports-related. What makes this even more devastating is that, according to the National Eye Institute, up to 90 percent of sports-related eye injuries could have been prevented by wearing protective eyewear. So let’s take a closer look at the protective eyewear for different sports.

The Right Eye Protection For The Sport

Some sports require more eye protection than others, and some may not specifically require eye protection but it’s still a good idea to have it. The sports where eye safety is a particular concern are lacrosse, archery, swimming, football, hockey, and snowboarding or skiing. For these sports, you can usually find specialized face masks or goggles alongside the other protective equipment.

For sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, and biking, a good eye protection option is polycarbonate goggles, which can be worn over glasses. Polycarbonate is a much stronger material than regular plastic and resist shattering when something strikes them. Sometimes these goggles can even be specially made to match vision prescriptions so the athlete doesn’t have to wear their goggles and glasses at the same time!

Things are more complicated with sports like water polo, where normal eye protection can actually become a hazard. A flying elbow to the face from another player could shove a pair of goggles askew or even into the eyes, and we don’t want that. Unless you are careful to follow USA Water Polo’s very specific guidelines for protective goggles and you need them to see because you have a strong prescription, it’s probably better not to use goggles at all.