Do I Need Sports Glasses? What Precautions Athletes Should Take To Protect Their Eyes
A number of sports require protective gear, ranging from full-on pads and helmets to just a mouthguard or shin guards. However, many times, the eyes are left exposed, as it’s not all that common for protective sports eyewear to be mandated. Often, only people who normally wear prescription eyeglasses will turn to sports glasses. Yet, anyone can benefit from them. Today, we’re discussing eye safety for athletes and sharing tips to protect your vision.
THE PREVALENCE OF SPORTS-RELATED EYE INJURIES
It’s estimated that around 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are seen at the emergency room in the United States every year. It also appears that eye injuries are just as much of a factor in Canada. In fact, Toronto-based, non-profit CNIB believes eye injuries from sports are the leading cause of vision loss in kids.
Now, what sports are responsible for the most eye injuries? A study was published in JAMA Ophthalmology where U.S. and Swiss researchers analyzed over 30 million visits to the emergency room for sports-related eye trauma and looked at the different sports responsible for these injuries. The researchers found basketball led the pack with 23 percent of injuries, baseball and softball accounted for 14 percent and shooting air guns or paintball guns came in third with 12 percent among males. For females, baseball or softball came in at 19 percent, followed by cycling at 11 percent, and then soccer at 10 percent. While the sports above might be the most frequent causes of sports-related eye injuries, pickleball, tennis, racquetball, boxing, martial arts and really any sport involving a ball or that could result in an impact can cause an eye injury. In fact, we’ve seen a jump in the number of people inquiring about pickleball glasses at our Vancouver eyewear store.
As for what the most common eye injuries in sports were, in basketball, they tended to be direct hits to the eye from elbows or other body parts. In baseball and softball, fractures to the bones around the eye were more likely because hits tended to come from the ball, which can travel up to 145 km/h. Breaking bones in the orbital area can have serious repercussions for the eyes.
HOW TO PROTECT EYES DURING SPORTS
The easiest way to avoid common eye injuries in sports is to wear sports glasses with polycarbonate lenses. It’s estimated that around 90% of sports eye injuries could be prevented with protective eyewear. When polycarbonate eye protection was introduced in hockey, eye injuries declined dramatically. For sports like ice hockey, lacrosse, and football, you should wear a helmet with a polycarbonate shield or a wire shield with polycarbonate. Hockey players should make sure the mask is approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council or the Canadian Standards Association.
For all other sports, consider sports glasses with a strap to keep them in place. At the Spectacle Shoppe, we offer sports glasses for kids and adults, both prescription and non-prescription. People who only wear glasses do tend to opt for prescription sports glasses because they need them to see. Their regular glasses would just fall off when they ran or jumped.
People who don’t require vision correction should go for non-prescription sports glasses because their eyes are just as much at risk.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SPORTS GLASSES
Fit is the most important thing to consider for adult or kids’ sports glasses. You want them to fit snugly around the eyes and cover your eyeballs and the bones around them. Many models like our Liberty Sports Junior Velocity kids’ sports glasses have padding on the bridge for comfort and venting on the sides to prevent fogging.
For adults, depending on the sport, a wraparound style like Rudy Project frames can be excellent for protecting your eyes and we offer them as sunglasses for outdoor sports. For a high-impact sport, you may want to add a sports glasses strap. These are less like goggles and more like sporty sunglasses. In-store, we carry a variety of Rudy Project non-prescription and prescription sports glasses with polycarbonate lenses. While style is important, and these are popular aesthetically, as we said, the fit is key, as is the crisp vision if you need vision correction.
Whether you’re in the market for pickleball glasses or prescription sports glasses for kids, we’ve got you covered at the Spectacle Shoppe in Kerrisdale. We’ll help you pick out comfortable, high-quality sports eyewear that suits your needs. See how we’re keeping our customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic here.