Over 40,000 people injure their eyes each year because of sports- and recreational-related activities, reports the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In most cases there would be no eye damage if individuals wore the proper vision protection. The organization Prevent Blindness America states that up to 90 percent of these eye injuries would not occur. The worst injuries come from basketball and baseball. Next are water and racket sports.
The No. 1 cause of an eye injury in sports is a scratch from a fingernail. By accident, people scrape the cornea, which causes mild pain. More damage occurs from blunt injuries, or when a heavier object, such as a squash ball, racket or arm hit the eye with force. If the eye is not hit too hard, then the person gets a black eye. Or, a hemorrhage may occur on the eye’s white outer coat. Neither of these injuries is serious enough to threaten permanent damage. However, no one knows for sure until the eye is checked by a professional that there is not further damage than can be seen. An appointment should be made with a vision specialist. it is accidents such as these that have made it either mandatory or highly recommended to wear sports glasses.
Individuals know that there is serious damage to their eyes when they lose part of their sight or their vision is blurry. Or, they may see a lot of blood when looking in their eye. If the eye is painful or feels like there is a foreign object obscuring vision, this could be a sign of a tear in the eye structure or something caught in the eye. Although you should go to the emergency room as soon as a serious eye injury occurs; caring for the eye promptly will often limit the amount of damage. It is recommended that the eye immediately be covered. Even the bottom of a paper cup placed over the eye will be better than nothing.
Because of all these injuries, eye wear designed specifically for sporting activities is growing quickly in vision industry. Although professional athletes were the first to wear protective eye wear, there is increased awareness of the importance of all sports participants wearing eye protection. Many coaches, caregivers and players recognize that not only are their eyes safer, but they can also see better and thus play better. Several years ago, when children started wearing the strange-looking goggles and other eye protective eye wear, they felt awkward. Today, however, many kids are wearing these types of glasses.
It is important to remember that regular glasses for near- or farsightedness are not appropriate for playing sports. They not only will not protect the eye, they may shatter and cause even more damage. A number of different types of sports goggles are produced in varied shapes and sizes. There are some that are manufactured for racket sports, others for basketball and soccer. There are also those made especially for the football, hockey and baseball helmets. The helmet can still be worn at the same time as the glasses.
The strongest material for the lenses is called polycarbonate. This material resists breaking under impact. It protects the eyes well when hit by a blunt item. In addition, polycarbonate can be made with ultraviolet protection and be resistant to scratching. Polycarbonate or other types of resistant plastic are also used for the frames. Different designs of frames are used for the wide variety of sports. Many have rubber padding in protective areas. When they are hit, they do not cause injury to the head.
Some of these glasses have a special shape, so they wrap around the face. These are useful for biking, sailing and hang gliding. They also keep a person’s contact lenses from falling out.
Many collision sports, such as football and hockey, require that the eyes are completely covered. In ice hockey, it is the damage from the puck rather than a physical collision with another player that is most dangerous. When all players began to wear standardized face masks in Canadian ice hockey, there was a decrease by more than 65 percent in the number of eye injuries. The National Eye Trauma System identifies patterns in eye damage to track what type of injuries occur and the proper eye wear needed.