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Preventing Eye Injuries during Sports

Sports are intense, exciting, and potentially dangerous. While most athletes tend to think of knee and shoulder injuries, sports-related eye injuries can be just as serious.


Tens of thousands of eye injuries occur each year during sports and physical activities. High-risk sports like baseball, basketball, and racquet sports result in more eye injuries than other sports. However, many of these injuries can be prevented. Protective eyewear can help reduce sports-related eye injuries.

Learn more about the danger of sports-related eye injuries and how to prevent them.

The Danger of Sports-Related Injuries

Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness for children in the United States. Most of these injuries are related to sports. While approximately 100,000 sports-related eye injuries occur each year, about 42,000 of those injuries require individuals to go to the emergency room.

And treatment for these eye injuries aren’t cheap; between $175 and $200 million per year is spent on treatment for eye injuries caused during sports.

These eye injuries include orbital fractures, corneal abrasions, and retinal detachment. Some injuries can even result in blindness. But 90% of these injuries can be avoided if athletes wear the right equipment.

The Right Gear

While many sports leagues don’t require athletes to wear eye protection or other protective gear, parents and coaches should encourage young athletes to wear protective gear like safety glasses when playing sports.

Athletes could wear strong, shatterproof, and lightweight face masks during sports like baseball, ice hockey, or lacrosse, which already require some form of head protection. Athletes could wear protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses during sports that don’t require a helmet. But having a strong lense to protect your eye from potential dangers is key.

Because polycarbonate is 10 times more resistant to impact than other plastics, these lenses protect the eye and significantly reduce the risk of eye injury. They won’t impair vision and could even be made with prescription lenses.

Athletes who already wear glasses should consider getting a separate pair of protective glasses with polycarbonate lenses. Normal lenses in glasses or sunglasses do not offer adequate protection, and may even damage the eye if they shatter due to impact.

If you already have protective lenses, wear them! And make sure to get your eyewear checked regularly to make sure they aren’t getting too worn down or damaged.

For more questions about sports-related injuries, contact our office!