Here’s Why Sports Eye Safety Month is an AAO Observance

girl playing lacrosse while wearing eye safety googles

April is Sports Eye Safety Month. To support keeping everyone’s eyes safe while playing sports, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) reminds athletes that they can prevent many eye injuries by wearing protective eyewear.

Each year, more than 100,000 people suffer from a sports-related eye injury — an estimated 13,500 of these injuries cause permanent loss of vision. The level of risk for eye injury varies depending on the sport.

This only emphasizes the need for athletes to use the proper eye protection when they play sports. Keep reading to learn more!

Wear Protective Eyewear like Goggles and Face Masks When Playing Sports

When choosing protective eyewear, factor in the activity you’ll be participating in. Some sports demand more protection than others, and not all eye protection is ideal for every sport.

Sports with the highest risk of eye injury are those with balls, racquets, or flying objects, such as baseball, softball, lacrosse, hockey, archery, and tennis. Pokes and jabs from fingers and elbows can also cause eye injuries, so football, basketball, and water sports have very high injury rates too. You can use specialized goggles, face masks, and other protective gear for these sports.

A great eye protection choice for sports such as biking, soccer, tennis, baseball, and basketball are goggles with polycarbonate lenses. These lenses are more resilient than regular plastic goggles and can be tinted to minimize glare from the sun.

You can even have polycarbonate goggles made to match your prescription. Prescription polycarbonate goggles allow you to wear them without needing to also wear your glasses.

Remember, not all eye protection gear is created equal. For instance, only shatterproof polycarbonate goggles provide adequate protection for your eyes while playing contact sports.

The governing associations of different sports have their own set of rules for proper eye protection. All sports eyewear should meet the American Society of Testing and Materials standard.

If you’re not sure about the kind of eyewear that is right for your sport of choice, consult with the eye doctors at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology. We can guide you in picking the perfect protective eyewear to ensure your eye safety, helping you stay on top of your game.

Tips On How to Protect Your Eyes When Playing Sports

To practice sports eye safety, the eye doctors at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology share some tips on how to protect your eyes in the sport you play:

  • Regular glasses won’t provide you with enough protection. In fact, they could cause further damage if you have an accident.
  • Wear protective eyewear and eye guards labeled ASTM F803. These protective guards are performance tested and approved to offer the maximum level of eye protection.
  • When playing hockey, put on face shields and helmets that the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association has sanctioned.
  • Polycarbonate face shields and batting helmets should both be used for youth baseball.

Protect Your Vision During Sports

The eye doctors at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology can help you see better and protect your eyes in your sport of choice. We offer comprehensive eye exams and the best treatment options for eye injuries.

If you’ve experienced an eye injury, the most important thing to do is contact Grand Rapids Ophthalmology as soon as possible. Early and prompt medical care can prevent permanent eye damage from occurring.

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