The right protective eyewear can significantly reduce the risk of eye injuries
Published: April 8, 2022
Nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. go to emergency rooms each year with sports-related eye injuries. An astounding 90 percent of these ER visits could have been avoided if the athlete wore protective eyewear.
With April designated “Sports Eye Safety Month,” the Alabama Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding everyone that the best defense against potentially blinding sports-related injuries is wearing protective eyewear.
“Sports are one of the most common reasons for trauma in the eye ER. Some of those injuries can lead to permanent vision loss,” says Dr. Cecil McCollum, the Medical Director of UAB Callahan Eye Hospital Emergency Department. “Please equip yourself and your children with protective eyewear when participating in sports.”
Here are some safety tips for all athletes to practice:
· Check and follow sport specific requirements and standards regarding eye protection
· Consider replacing eyewear once yellowed or damaged to ensure the best protection
· For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses
· For snow or water sports, consider eyewear with UV protection to avoid sunburn or glare
· Athletes who wear contacts or glasses should still wear eye protection; contacts and regular eyeglasses are not replacements for protective sports eyewear
“Getting athletes of any age to wear protective eyewear is a challenge,” sayas Dr. Dianna Seldomridge, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Ophthalmologists hear all the reasons for not wearing eye protection: it’s cumbersome, it will impair peripheral vision, it will fog up. But sports goggles have vastly improved over the years. And if you start your kids early, wearing protective eyewear will become as natural as donning a batting helmet as they step up to the plate.”
If you experience an eye injury, seek medical attention immediately, even if the injury seems minor; sometimes noticeable symptoms develop later.
For more information on eye health, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart® website.
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.