Take Precautions to Protect Eyes While Exercising

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • I’m guessing that Santa left a bunch of sports equipment during his travels on December 25. And these new “toys” – whether they are a new tennis racquet, a touring bicycle or a BB gun – can provide added incentive to lead a healthy life.


    However, as we all know, participating in sports can injure your body if you’re not careful.  For instance, Prevent Blindness American just published a flyer on the top 15 sports that were responsible for eye injuries during 2010. In perusing this list, I found that there were some real surprises. For instance, the second most hazardous place for eye health was around water. These activities, which included those at the pool, resulted in an estimated 4,673 injuries. Of those, 1,793 were among children between the ages of 0-14 while people who were 15 years old and above sustained 2,881 of these injuries.

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    Exercising in the health club had the eighth highest level of eye injuries, with 1,697. Of those, 1,297 were among people who were 15 years old and above. And golf had the 11th highest number of these injuries at 672; of those, 612 were among people who were 15 years and above.


    So what were the other sports that were mentioned? Topping the list was basketball, with an estimated 5,237 estimated injuries. Guns (including air, gas, spring and BB) were in third place with 3,279 estimated injuries. The other sports and their rankings were: (4) baseball/softball with 2,924 total injuries; (5) soccer with 2,015 estimated injuries; (6) football, with 1,929 estimated injuries; (7) bicycles with 1,765 estimated injuries; (9) racquet sports, with 1,241 estimated injuries; (10) ball sports (unspecified) with 815 estimated injuries; (12) winter sports, with 583 estimated injuries; (13) fishing, with an estimated 564 eye injuries; (14) boxing and wrestling, with an estimated 492 eye injuries; and (15) scooters, skateboards and go-karts, with an estimated 201 injuries.


    “The good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear,” states the EyeSmart website, which is produced by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


    So what can you do to protect your (or your children’s) eyes from injuries when participating in sports? TeensHealth's website states that eye protection is really necessary in many sports. The most effective in protecting eyes, polycarbonate (a type of plastic) has been tested concerning its use in sports. Facemasks, guards and shields that attach to a helmet are often worn in a variety of sports, including football, ice hockey, softball and baseball.  Athletes who participate in sports such as soccer, basketball, racquet sports, snowboarding, street hockey, baseball and softball may use goggles.  “If you were glasses, you’ll probably need prescription polycarbonate goggles – don’t just wear your regular glasses when you’re on the court or the field,” the website noted. TeensHealth recommends that all eye protection should fit securely. Furthermore, the eye protection should include cushions around the eyebrows and over the nose.


  • EyeSmart points out that you should select eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards or that have passed the Canadian Standards Association racquet sports standard.

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    EyeSmart also recommends that if you have reduced vision in one eye, you should consider the risk of injuring the stronger eye before participating in contact or racquet sports.  Prior to joining these types of sports, the website recommends talking with an ophthalmologist to determine if there’s eye protection available and whether he or she has a recommendation about participating in contact or racquet sports.


    If you sustain an eye injury (even if it appears minor), you need to see an ophthalmologist or go to the emergency room. “Delaying medical attention can result in permanent vision loss or blindness,” EyeSmart’s website states.


    Primary Sources for This Sharepost:


    EyeSmart.  (nd). Eye health in sports and recreation. American Academy of Ophthalmology.


    Prevent Blindness America. (2012). Sports-related eye injuries by age.


    TeensHealth.com. (nd). Sports and exercise safety.

Published On: December 26, 2012