April is Sports Eye Safety Month
At Bonner Eye Clinic, we encourage our patients to maintain an active lifestyle, and participation in sports is a great way to do that. However, it is also extremely important that people of all ages protect their eyes while playing sports in order to minimize the chance of a sports-related eye injury. It is estimated that 90% of sports-related eye injuries, such as blunt trauma, penetration injuries, debris and more, can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an estimated 100,000 people sustain eye injuries each year related to sports and recreation. These injuries can range from corneal abrasions to serious, vision-threatening lacerations – in youth sports, professional sports and recreational sports. For example:
- Damage to the cornea (the outer layer of your eye) can occur if debris flies into your eye, gets underneath a contact lens or if a sharp object is swiped across your eye.
- Blunt trauma can occur if a ball or another piece of sports equipment comes into forceful contact with your eye. In addition to causing vision damage, the bones around your eye can also be affected by blunt trauma.
- Penetration injuries occur when a piece of glass, debris or equipment actually pierces into the eye.
Sports with a high risk of eye injury are those that incorporate a ball/puck, bat/stick, racquet or physical contact – such as basketball, football, baseball / softball, martial arts, boxing, lacrosse, hockey, paintball, etc. Even those sports that are considered a moderate to low risk of eye injury can still cause harm if the proper eye protection is not worn (water sports, fishing, racquet sports, etc.).
If you wear prescription glasses to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, your regular glasses will not provide adequate protection. In fact, if these lenses shatter, the damage to your eyes could be far worse than the initial injury. Polycarbonate lenses can provide the right protection during sports, but you may still need to wear contact lenses in order to see well. Choose eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. There are unique standards set for different types of sports such as field hockey, basketball, paintball, airsoft, etc.
If you cannot wear contact lenses, or if you simply don’t like wearing them, you may be risking your eyesight by not having the ability to wear the right polycarbonate lenses. You may want to consider laser vision correction to help improve your natural vision and give you the visual freedom to participate in sports more safely.
So, whether you play leisurely rounds of golf, fast-action basketball or any type of sport, protect your eyes. If you need help determining which type of safety glasses/goggles are appropriate for your sport of choice, contact an eye doctor to learn about the options.
If you sustain any type of eye injury in Minnesota, contact an eye doctor as soon as possible. At Bonner Eye Clinic, we offer eye care in Grand Rapids and Hibbing, MN. Our team can assess the injury, determine the extent of damage to your eye and offer prompt treatment if necessary. Visit our website or call (218) 326-3433 to schedule an appointment.