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Sports Eye Safety  

April 16, 2020

BY JENNIFER KESSLER, OD


 

More than 40% of all eye injuries are related to sports or recreational activities. They represent over 100,000 physician visits per year and cost more than $175,000,000. It is important to understand how to prevent these injuries from occurring.

 

Nearly 90% of the sports related eye injuries in school aged children can be avoided with protective eyewear.  It is important to understand that regular prescription glasses do not provide adequate protection and if a trauma occurs, can actually cause more damage. 

 

The American Society of Testing and Material (ASTM) establishes the guideline of recommended sports eye protection for children. It is important to choose protection that has been tested and meets the ASTM standards. Recommendations are different for every sport and it is important to follow the correct recommendations.  Protective eye wear with polycarbonate lenses, a shatter-resistant plastic, should be worn for sports such as basketball, all racquet sports, soccer, and field hockey. 

 

According to the American Optometric Association, basketball is one of the leading causes of eye injuries in the United States.  It is also recommended to use helmets with face shields, especially for young kids, when playing baseball and hockey.  Sports eye protection needs to have an ASTM label and fit the athlete comfortably and properly.  Your health care professionals can help suggest appropriate eye wear for your young athlete.

 

If an eye injury occurs, it should be evaluated by a health care provider to ensure no treatment is needed and that infection does not occur.  While most ocular injuries are painful, some are painless and can cause permanent vision loss.