Why Eyecare Professionals Should Encourage Sports Eye Protection

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According to Prevent Blindness, approximately 25,000 sports-related eye injuries were treated in 2021. Non-powder guns, arrows, darts, and slingshots had the highest number of injuries, while winter sports had the lowest. Prevent Blindness, the country’s top eye health nonprofit, collected data from different sources that show eye injuries from sports happen at all ages. The number increased as the focus group got older, with people over 23 posting the highest percentage. Sports-related eye problems are more common than most people think, hence, the need for professionals to raise awareness. Optometrists and other eyecare specialists should insist on the importance of proper eye protection during various sporting activities.

The Need for Protection

Professional athletes, amateurs, and anyone who engages in sports can suffer serious eye injuries due to improper eyewear. Regular eyeglasses, occupational safety glasses, and sunglasses don’t provide the right type of protection during sports. Some of the eyewear people use increases the injury risk. Prescription lenses can shatter when playing, inflicting severe damage. For this reason, your patients should know how to pick the correct sports lenses.

Different activities have varying levels of risk. Therefore, understanding the correct type of protection is critical. For example, pool and water activities require glasses that protect the eyes against irritants in the water, among other hazards. Wearing the right glasses shields your eye from projectiles, debris, sharp objects, dirt, and elbows.

Another reason to use protective glasses is to improve performance. Patients with impaired vision can participate in various activities comfortably when wearing suitable glasses. Standard glasses can make it hard to see, especially in poor weather conditions.

Preventing Sports Injuries

So, how do you help your patients? As an eye health professional, educate patients on the role of protective eyewear during sports. Your patients should know the risks involved in different activities, whether team or solo. Also, advise them on how to decrease the risk of sports-related eye injuries. Here are a few tips that can help.

•    Patients using prescription eyewear should get the correct eye guards from a doctor.
•    When recommending protective glasses, optometrists should consider the ASTM standard, which varies across different types of eye guards.
•    In activities where fogging is an issue, like skiing, lenses should have an anti-fogging coating.
•    Sports eyewear should be from optical or specialty stores. The lenses must be designed to stay in place during movements to avoid injury.
•    In instances where a patient has reduced vision in one eye, a doctor should advise on the appropriate eyewear. An ophthalmologist should also evaluate the risks of such a patient participating in certain sports.

Selecting Protective Eyewear

Eyecare experts should provide patients with suitable eyewear for specific games. Additionally, they should teach patients what to look for. Protective eyewear is made of shatterproof polycarbonate lenses. Some sports, such as lacrosse and ice hockey, require face shields. Patients should also consider if a game is played indoors or outdoors because environmental conditions matter too.

Allentown Optical is a reputable optical lab that provides opticians, optometrists, and other specialists with a range of products and services. Contact us to learn more about our wholesale optical products and services. Stock your clinic or store with sports eyewear to give patients suitable solutions for varying needs.