Eye Injury Prevention
09/07/2004

Whether you play baseball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey or racquet sports, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) recommends athletes wear sports eyeguards. Each year, hospital emergency rooms treat nearly 40,000 victims for sports eye injuries according to PBA.

Almost all sports-related eye injuries can be prevented if you’re fitted with the proper eye protection. Just as you wear protection for the head and the mouth in many sports, you also need to wear protection for the eyes.

Eye guards can cost $20 to $100 depending on needs. If you wear prescription glasses, ask your eye doctor to fit you for prescription eye guards. If you’re a monocular athlete (a person with only one eye that sees well), ask your eye doctor about sports you can participate in safely. Monocular athletes should always wear sports eye guards.

The following PBA guidelines can help you find a pair of eyeguards that are right for you:

  • Buy eye guards at sports specialty stores or optical stores. At the sports store, ask for a sales representative who is familiar with eye protectors to help you.
  • Don’t buy sports eyeguards without lenses. Only “lensed” protectors are recommended for sports use. Make sure the lenses either stay in place or pop outward in the event of an accident. Lenses that pop in against your eyes can be very dangerous.
  • Fogging of the lenses can be a problem when you’re active. Some eyeguards are available with anti-fog coating. Others have side vents for additional ventilation. Try on different types to determine which is most comfortable for you.
  • Check the packaging to see if the eye protector you select has been tested for sports use. Also check to see that the eye protector is made of polycarbonate material, which is the most impact resistant.
  • Sports eyeguards should be padded or cushioned along the brow and bridge of the nose. Padding will prevent the eyeguards from cutting the skin.
  • Try on the eye protector to determine if it’s the right size. Adjust the strap and make sure it’s not too tight or too loose. If you purchased your eyeguards at an optical store, an optical representative can help you adjust the eye protector for a comfortable fit.

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