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September is Sports Eye Injury Awareness Month. The Berkeley Eye Center of Houston encourages our active patients to enjoy participating in sports and recreational events, but at the same time protect their eyes from injury.

Each year, there are thousands of sports and recreation-related eye injuries in the U.S. Sadly, most of these injuries could be avoided by wearing activity-appropriate protective eyewear.

Protective Eyewear Is the Best Way to Avoid a Sports Related Eye Injury

Activity Appropriate Eyewear for Your Favorite Sport

What is activity appropriate eyewear? Some sports carry a greater risk for eye injury than others. The National Eye Institute breaks them down into three categories: high risk sports, moderate risk sports and low risk sports.

  • High risk sports: Baseball (the leading cause of eye injury for children 14 and under), basketball, boxing, hockey, paintball, racquetball, softball, fencing
  • Moderate risk sports: Football, golf, tennis, soccer, fishing
  • Low risk sports: Bicycling, diving, skiing, walking, jogging, swimming, wrestling

Protective eyewear made of an ultra-strong polycarbonate composite material should always be worn while participating in sporting activities with a high or moderate risk for eye injuries. Polycarbonate eyewear is 10 times more impact resistant than regular plastics and does not reduce vision.

For the best protection, you should select protective eyewear labeled as ASTM F803 approved. Depending on the activity, a face guard or helmet may also be required to protect the face and head along with the eyes. Your eye care professional can recommend the most appropriate type of protective eyewear for your chosen sport.

Glass lenses and contact lenses do not provide adequate protection and should not be worn when participating in sports. IF you wear eyeglasses, you should use prescription protective sports eyewear fitted by an eye care professional.

Even though the risk of eye injury may be low in sports like cycling, skiing, swimming and jogging, wearing protective eye gear is still a good idea. Sunglasses are recommended for all outdoor activities to reduce glare, block potentially harmful UV radiation and help protect the eye from airborne dust and other particles. Swim goggles and swim masks improve visibility and reduce the chances of eye irritation from salty sea water or overly chlorinated pool water.

Everyone Should Wear Activity Appropriate Protective Eye Gear

During Sports Eye Injury Awareness Month, Berkeley Eye Center would like to encourage everyone to wear appropriate protective eyewear during their favorite physical activities, especially children and young adults. Sports-related eye trauma can seriously impair a person’s vision, even resulting in blindness. It can also cause damage to the structures surrounding the eye as well, which may require an oculoplastic surgical procedure to repair the damage and restore normal appearance of the eye.

For more information on what eyewear provides the best protection for your favorite sport, schedule an appointment with one of our highly experienced eye care professionals. We can address your specific needs and provide several options in protective sports eye gear to choose from. And with many locations in the Houston area to choose from, there’s a Berkeley Eye Center near you!