Every 13 minutes, someone walks into a hospital emergency room somewhere in the USA to be treated for a sports related eye injury. That’s over 600,000 such incidents each and every year. While this statistic alone is somewhat sobering, the fact that over 90% of these injuries are completely preventable is equally noteworthy.
While certain risk prone activities such as racquetball & softball can be particularly dangerous for an athlete’s eyes, the fact is that participating in any sport can lead to a serious, life-changing eye injury. However, by taking a few simple precautions, a wide range of threats to eye health can be dramatically minimized, and in some cases, eliminated entirely.
Start with the Basics
Most athletes and coaches are aware of the existence of sports safety goggles, and their effectiveness in preventing serious eye injuries. Statistics indicate that over 90% of participants in college athletic activities do not wear eye protection of any kind.
The fact of the matter is that protective eyewear for college athletes is as basic as seat-belts in cars, or helmets for bike riding. Athlete’s who want to protect their eyes from serious injury while engaged in any sporting activity should be utilizing this simple, yet effective device for maintaining eye health. In fact, many university’s sport programs now say that if an athlete chooses not to wear eye protection, then they simply can’t play.
In addition to projectiles, fingers, and elbows, there are a few other risk factors for eyes that college athletes need to be aware of. Some of the most important are:
- Be cautious when wearing ordinary glasses, or sunglasses during sports activities. Wearing these may actually increase your chances of suffering a serious eye injury.
- Never use sunscreen or other substances within 1 inch of the eye.
- Drink sufficient water to maintain proper eye hydration during sporting events.
- Wear protective hat or visor for sun protection.
The bottom line is that protecting athlete’s eyes during sporting activities is a simple, and prudent undertaking – but seriously under utilized. It’s up to both participants and coaches to be more aware of both the ease of suffering a serious eye injury – and the ease of preventing one from happening. It simply isn’t worth the risk to go without eye protection.