For all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in water sports, basketball, and baseball/softball.
More than 25,000 people seek treatment for sports-related eye injuries each year. The good news is that almost all of these injuries can be prevented. Whatever your game, whatever your age, you need to protect your eyes!
Take the following steps to avoid sports eye injuries:
- Wear proper safety goggles (lensed polycarbonate protectors) for racquet sports or basketball. In order to be assured that your eyes are protected, it is important that any eye guard or sports protective eyewear are labeled as ASTM F803 approved. This eyewear is performance tested to give you the highest levels of protection.
- Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for youth baseball.
- Use helmets and face shields approved by the U.S. Amateur Hockey Association when playing hockey.
- Know that regular glasses don’t provide enough protection.
YOU can take steps to be a sports safety advocate in your community!
- Know that almost ALL sports-related eye injuries are preventable. Whatever the sport, whatever the child’s age… appropriate protective eyewear is the best defense against eye injury!
- Parents, teachers, school nurses and coaches should learn about the eye injury risks associated with sports before allowing children to participate.
- Parents should consult an eye doctor for protective eyewear recommendations before enrolling a child in any sports program.
- Parents, teachers and coaches should discourage participation in high risk contact sports such as boxing, since adequate eye protection does not yet exist for this sport.
- Parents should only enroll children in after-school organized sports through school districts, community centers, park districts and recreation centers where adults supervise all sports activity. Ideally, an adult trained in the prevention, recognition and immediate care of an eye injury should be present at all times.
- Parents should meet with a child’s coach or athletic trainer to make sure that proper procedures are in place to deal with a child’s eye injury should one occur.
- Parents, teachers, school nurses and coaches should familiarize themselves with the warning signs of an eye injury and know when to seek treatment.
For more information on eye safety, visit www.preventblindness.org/sports-eye-safety.