Goal! Eye Safety in Sports

Protective athletic eyewear may not sound all that exciting, but if you suffer an eye injury while playing a sport, you’ll wish you had taken the precaution to guard such a vital organ. Helmets, pads, cleats, gloves, shin guards, mouth guards – they all offer protection in various activities to various body parts, but there are few sports that can’t benefit from the power of polycarbonate lenses. Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, has designated September as Sports Eye Safety Month in its fight to help people save their vision. Regardless of the date on the calendar, it’s never a bad time to employ eye protection while participating in athletics. While the risk of eye injury varies depending on the activity, it is estimated that 40,000 sports-related eye injuries occur every year and happen most frequently in baseball, basketball and racquet sports. Statistics reveal that U.S. emergency rooms treat a sports-related eye injury every 13 minutes and that sports are the primary reason kids aged 11 to 14 suffer an eye injury. Accidents happen quickly and can result in eye injuries ranging from corneal abrasions to inflamed irises, from fractures of the eye socket to swollen or detached retinas, and from traumatic cataracts to permanent vision loss.

Approximately 90 percent of these significant eye injuries can be prevented by wearing properly fitting eye protection appropriate for the type of activity.
Practical solutions include eyewear made from materials that resist shattering, resist scratches, absorb UV rays, eliminate glare, enhance clarity, enhance depth perception, reduce excess light, keep side light out, reduce reflections, deter fog, and repel dirt, water and sweat. The best protectors are those that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. Ordinary eyeglasses do not offer adequate protection because they shatter easily. For example, one study found that polycarbonate lenses with a center thickness of 1 millimeter withstood the impact of a baseball fired at 94 mph, while lenses made from glass, allyl resin plastic and high-index plastic shattered at that speed. People who wear prescription glasses should wear polycarbonate lenses in a sports frame that passes ASTM F803 for the specific sport or an over-the-glasses eye guard that conforms to the specifications of ASTM F803 for sports in which an ASTM F803 protector is sufficient. We encourage our fellow Kentuckians to be proactive about their eye safety. If you have any questions about this topic, or if you have received an eye injury while playing a sport, the Kentucky personal injury attorneys of the Johnson Law Firm can review your case and advise you whether you have grounds to seek financial compensation. Call us today at 606-437-4488 or fill out this contact form.

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