Do you love to play hockey, squash, baseball or golf? If you play any sport that involves balls, pucks, racquets, sticks or bats, the risk of serious eye injury is very real. In fact, about 40% of eye injuries over the last few decades, are from playing ice hockey, with racquet sports being the second most common cause.
Studies also show that 1 in 3 sports eye injuries involves children, and are a common cause of blindness in kids. (Before you ‘sideline’ your athlete, know that 90 percent of sports eye injuries can be prevented with the right eye protection.)
As better eye gear has been developed for these sports and more players have been wearing it, fewer serious injuries have occurred. However, over the last 20 years in Canada, over 4000 eye injuries were reported, with 449 resulting in blindness.
Here are five ways you can protect your eyes and prevent sports eye injuries.
1. ALWAYS WEAR PROTECTION
For the same reason hockey players wear pads and helmets, athletes should wear eye protection. Anytime you or your child participates in a sport, especially a high impact sport, make sure they are wearing their safety glasses, safety goggles, eye guards or helmets. Additionally, if you are a senior, slower reflexes could make you more vulnerable to injury, so always wear protection.
2. MAKE SURE THE FIT IS RIGHT
The right protection works, but not if it is not a proper fit. Helmets with face guards should fit snuggly. They should not rock and twist. Talk with your eye physician to determine the best protective eyewear for your sport. Consider bringing in the protective eyewear for your doctor to look at.
3. SUNGLASSES AREN’T SAFETY GOGGLES
Sunglasses give little protection from impact, and can cause more harm if they are not shatter-proof. Athletes should wear safety glasses or goggles made of polycarbonate lenses. This type of lens is 10 times as impact resistant.
4. LEARN THE SPORT
High impact sports come with several risks of eye injuries. Before you participate in a game, learn what eye injuries are common with the sport. Some common high-risk sports include hockey, squash, martial arts, and racquetball.
5. MEET THE COACH
Does your child’s team have a medic at games? Meet with your child’s coach to make sure there is a plan for how to spot and treat sports eye injuries when they occur.
Eye mishaps are among the most common injuries treated in hospital room. Avoid this by taking the appropriate precautions.