With warmer weather upon us, many of us are probably enjoying the sunshine by playing some recreational sports. Tens of thousands of sports-related injuries occur each year. The good news is that 90% of these serious eye injuries are easily preventable through the use of protective eyewear. The risk of eye injury varies depending on activity, so make sure the level of eye protection you use is appropriate to the sport. Regular eyeglasses will not offer you proper protection when it comes to the safety of your eyes and vision.
Sports-related eye injuries occur most often in baseball, basketball and racquet sports. In baseball and racquet sports such as lacrosse, a helmet with polycarbonate face masks or even wire shield should be worn at all times. Protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses should also be worn for sports such as basketball, soccer and field hockey.
If you think that eye protection isn’t important when it comes to sports, consider some of these facts:
- Professional baseball players throw a ball at about 95 mph
- Polycarbonate can protect against a .22 caliber bullet
- The average NHL hockey puck travels at a speed between 90 – 100 mph
The damage that can be incurred from high-velocity flying objects can do irreparable damage to your vision, so be sure you take the proper precautions to protect your eyes.
Sports generally account for the highest number of eye injuries, but there are also other hobbies and activities that can pose risks for your sight. According to a study conducted in 2008, more than 40% of patients treated for eye injuries sustained at home were a result of yard work, cleaning, home repairs, and cooking. Common sense and caution can be exceptionally beneficial when it comes to keeping your eyes safe.
Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind to keep your eyes protected:
- Always remember that eyeglasses are not a sufficient substitute for eye protection.
- Be careful during activities or games that involve projectiles and any sort of sharp object that could cause injury if they come in contact with your eyes.
- Consider the risk of flying debris and other objects during activities and wear the appropriate eye protection.
If you experience an eye injury, be sure to contact your eye care professional and go to the nearest emergency room immediately, even if the injury may appear minor. Delaying medical attention could result in permanent blindness or vision loss.