Don’t Forget This Essential Sports Equipment
Many athletes don’t think twice about wearing a helmet to protect their heads or padding to cushion their joints, bones and muscles. However, few think about wearing protective eyewear to shield their eyes—but they should.
Tens of thousands of eye injuries occur each year while participating in sports and recreational activities, and most of these occur in kids. Eye injuries can be devastating and can have lifelong consequences, but the good news is that about 90 percent of serious eye injuries can be prevented just by wearing protective eyewear.
Your eyes are not only at risk from flying balls and equipment, but also from being poked or hit by other players’ fingers, elbows, feet or other body parts. Sports with a high incidence of eye injuries include basketball, baseball, softball, racquet sports, football, hockey, soccer, lacrosse and boxing.
Wearing regular prescription glasses or sunglasses is not enough to protect your eyes. For better eye protection, wear sports-specific protective eyewear such as goggles or eye guards with polycarbonate lenses or face masks to help keep your eyes injury-free. Choose eyewear designed for your specific sport and check that it has been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
Many youth sports leagues don’t require participants to wear safety goggles, eye guards or face masks. That’s why it’s up to parents and coaches to insist that children wear protective eyewear when they play. Adults should also protect their eyes when engaging in high-risk sports.
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Date Last Reviewed: February 7, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD