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Eyewear and injury prevention

Sports participation can be highly rewarding in many ways, while also risky.  Most athletes learn how to safeguard their joints and muscles against injury–but what about their eyes?  In the U.S. alone, an annual 30,000+ eye injuries are sustained in sports and require medical attention. Moreover, about 90% of these can be avoided with the proper protective eyewear, so let’s take a look at how to gear up for your sport…

Where it matters most

All athletes should be diligent about eye safety. That being said, some athletes are more predisposed to eye injuries than others, depending on which sports they partake in.  The highest risk occurs for these 4 sports: paintball, shooting air guns, racket sports, and soccer. But don’t be caught without protective eyewear if you are in swimming, skiing/snowboarding, hockey, lacrosse, archery or football.

How to choose the right eye protection

Many sports will have designated safety goggles or face masks, available online or at your local sporting goods store.  Otherwise, your best bet is a pair of shatter-resistant polycarbonate goggles–they shield against most impacts and fit over regular prescription glasses.  In addition, you can get polycarbonate goggles with built-in prescription for an all-in-one solution.

Keep in mind that for some sports, eye safety is more complicated and you may have to do some research to make sure that your protective eyewear is compliant with your sport’s governing association.  In water polo, for example, protective goggles can actually increase the risk of sustaining an eye injury, due to the likeliness that they’ll be displaced by accidental contact from another athlete. For those who depend on prescription eyewear to see clearly, USA Water Polo has established standards for acceptable safety goggles.

For additional guidance…

Your optometrist will always be your best resource for additional insights and help with choosing eyewear that fits and performs excellently for your sport.

Dr. Joseph Cohen O.D.
Woodland Hills Optometrist
Receive an Excellent Service and Comprehensive Eye Care
(818) 345-3937
Providing service in English and Farsi
19737 Ventura Blvd., Suite 201, Woodland Hills, CA 91364