Over the past 60 years, the Houston eye doctors at Berkeley Eye Center have treated many patients who have suffered sports-related eye injuries. The sad thing is, most of these sports related eye injuries could have been prevented had the patient been wearing appropriate eye and head protection. This isn’t a problem unique to Houston; each year, there are thousands of sports related injuries across the U.S.
In order to focus attention on the problem, the National Eye Institute has declared September as Sports Eye Injury Awareness Month.
Wear Protective Eyewear to Reduce the Risk of a Houston Sports Eye Injury
The most effective way to avoid a Houston sports eye injury is to wear the appropriate eye protection, whether it be a pair of sunglasses, shatterproof goggles, swim mask or a football helmet.
So, what is the appropriate eye wear for your favorite sport? Some sports carry a greater risk for eye injury than others.
The National Eye Institute breaks them down into three categories: low risk sports, moderate risk sports and high risk sports.
Sports That Are Low Risk for Eye Injuries
Some of the activities the NEI considers to be “low” risk sports include:
Despite the low risk, we encourage our patients to wear protective eye wear to avoid eye injuries. Cyclists, joggers and skiers will want to wear sunglasses to reduce glare, block potentially harmful UV radiation and help protect their eyes from injuries due to airborne dust and other particles. If you’re a swimmer, consider wearing a swim mask or goggles to improve your underwater vision and reduce the chances of eye irritation from salty sea water or overly chlorinated pool water. Wrestlers should consider protective eye wear to prevent eye injuries due to being jabbed in the eye by a finger, elbow or knee.
Sports That Are Moderate Risk for Eye Injuries
“Moderate” risk sports include:
The main risk of eye injury is being struck in the eye by a flying object such as a golf ball, tennis ball, soccer ball or fishing hook. Although football helmets provide protection to the entire head, an eye guard attached to the front of the helmet can provide additional protection.
Sports That Are High Risk for Eye Injuries
The NEI considers the following as examples of “high” risk sports:
Baseball is the leading cause of eye injury for children 14 and under. Batting helmets, preferably with a protective face mask, should always be worn while playing baseball or softball. No-contact headgear can help prevent eye injuries for those who like to box. Fencers should always wear an epee or 3 weapons mask during bouts. Shatterproof eye gear is the best way to prevent eye injuries while playing paintball, hockey or racquetball.
If You Participate In Sports Wear Protective Eye Gear to Avoid Sports Related Eye Injuries
Berkeley Eye Center is here to help you find the right eyewear for your favorite sport! Schedule an exam with one of our Houston eye care professionals today. We have clinics all over Houston and surrounding communities like Katy, The Woodlands, and Pearland, so no matter where you live, there’s a Berkeley Eye Center close to you!