April is Sports Eye Safety Month. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the outdoors while keeping in mind the importance of your vision. Eye Center, Inc. encourages you to take safety into your owns hands and make your eyes a priority.

More than 40 percent of eye injuries are related to sports or recreational activities. But almost all (literally about 90%) eye injuries can be prevented by simply wearing protective eyewear!

Annually, about 30,000 people in the U.S. go to an emergency care center with a sports-related eye injury, according to a study in JAMA Ophthalmology. Three sports account for almost half of all injuries: basketball, baseball and paintball.

Basketball is the leading cause of injuries in males, followed by baseball/softball, and air or paintball guns. For females, baseball/softball is the primary reason for eye injuries, followed by cycling and soccer.

The type and severity of sports-related injuries varies. Corneal abrasions and bruises on the lids are less significant, while retinal detachment and internal bleeding can be vision-threatening. Any sort of blunt force trauma also puts someone at higher risk for developing glaucoma in the future. Annual eye exams are a simple way to monitor this closely. And as with any injury, the sooner you seek medical attention, the better.

About one-third of sports-related eye injuries happen to children. Kids will be kids, but as adults, we can do our best to keep them healthy and safe. Follow these tips to save vision at any age:

  • Glasses won’t cut it: Throwing on a pair of regular prescription or nonprescription glasses doesn’t always cut it. They can shatter when hit by flying objects. If you do wear prescription glasses, try sports goggles over top to protect both your eyes and frames.
  • Wear proper eye protection: For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear glasses with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses.
  • Put on your helmet: For baseball, ice hockey and lacrosse, wear a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield.
  • Throw out old gear: When your eye protection is damaged or yellowing with age, it’s time to throw them out. Wear and tear may cause them to become weak and less effective.
  • Know the standards: Choose eye protection that meets American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.

There are certain daily tasks that can cause eye damage but people don’t normally think to use safety glasses. For example, sunglasses or protective glasses should be worn while mowing the lawn and performing overhead work, like landscaping, dusting and painting.

Eye Center, Inc. offers prescription and nonprescription sports goggles for adults and children with polycarbonate lenses. Also available are safety glasses with an ASTM approved frame and protective side shields for adults and children with polycarbonate lenses. Visit Eye Center, Inc. today or call us at (941) 756-2020 to learn more about protective eyewear for sports.