Sports Eye Safety Month

Did you know that April is sports eye safety month? If you play sports like racquetball or squash, you’ll understand just how important eye safety is! Many people are unaware of how hazardous these types of sports can be and how frequent eye injuries are. In light of this the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has designated April as Sports Eye Safety Month! This initiative has been put in place to raise awareness about wearing eye protection when participating in team sports. Making sure you wear the appropriate protective eyewear goes a long way in terms of maintaining healthy eyes now and in the future!

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has shared some alarming statistics about sports eye injuries:

An estimated 40,000 injuries occur every year due to sports. The majority of victims are children, many of whom suffer permanent visual impairment.
Baseball and basketball account for the largest number of injuries among young athletes.
Little League pitchers can achieve pitching speeds up to 70 mph. That’s fast enough to seriously damage an eye.
In basketball, wearing appropriate protective eyewear can prevent serious eye injuries caused by flying fingers and elbows.
Many other popular sports, such as tennis, soccer, football, golf, water sports, and hockey, put unprotected players at risk for serious eye injury.

Did you know that many children’s sports leagues don’t require that players wear eye protection? Even some of the most risky sports such as baseball, a sport where balls can fly as fast as 70 miles per hour! Other sports that have a high eye injury rate include basketball and most racquet sports.

The best way to prevent eye injuries during these sports is to make sure your children always are wearing shatterproof eye protection! In terms of other high-risk sports such as baseball, ice hockey and even lacrosse, kids should be wearing a facemask made with a wire shield beneath the helmet. Another important factor to take into account for hockey equipment is that masks should meet the Hockey Equipment Certification Council requirements!

Its no secret that high impact sports such as boxing and martial arts are very high-risk and can cause serious eye injuries. In light of this, make sure to choose eye protection that is appropriate and in line with the regulations of your child’s particular martial arts or boxing in combination with thumbless gloves for boxing. Furthermore, sports such as basketball, racquet sports, field hockey and soccer should invest in polycarbonate eyewear. When purchasing these types of protective eyewear, it’s important to ensure that they meet the standards set by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)!

If your child already has impaired vision, maybe consider the risks of participating in the above-mentioned sports more carefully. Don’t forget that an injury to the other eye could have a significant impact!

As aforementioned, sports often tend to be one of the biggest causes of eye injuries. However, especially as the summer months approach, they are certainly not the only hobby that poses a risk to your eyes! According to doctors surveyed in the 2008 Eye Injury Snapshot conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology as well as the American Society of Ocular Trauma, more than 40% of patients treated for eye injuries that happened at home happened on account of home repairs, yard work, cleaning and even cooking! It’s always important to err on the side of caution, even when doing mundane tasks around the home! Here are some tips to take into account for protecting your eyes:

• Make sure to consider the risk of flying debris and other objects during activities –always wear appropriate eye protection!
• If you wear contacts or glasses, have a back-up form of vision correction during bike trips or other activities where you could potentially lose or shatter a lens.
• Be cautious during activities or even games involving projectiles or sharp objects that could create injury if in contact with the eye.
• Glasses are not sufficient protection!

First and foremost, always remember that if an eye injury occurs, see an ophthalmologist or emergency room immediately! Delaying medical attention can result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

To learn more visit our website or contact one of our experienced ophthalmologists today!