The month of September has been designated as “Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month” by the organization Prevent Blindness America. Through this annual event, they seek to educate the public regarding preventable sports-related eye injuries and ways to protect your eyes while involved in an athletic activity.
Prevent Blindness America reports that there were more than 13,000 sports-related eye injuries in children ages 0-14 in 2012. Many of these injuries were sustained while playing basketball, participating in a water or pool activity, or while using gas, air, spring, and BB guns. The organization hopes to spread the word that 90 percent of those injuries could have been prevented with proper eye protection. They strongly recommend the following:
• Regular glasses can easily shatter and are not sufficient eye protection when playing a sport. Children should wear safety goggles with polycarbonate lenses when playing racquet sports or basketball. Eyewear labeled as “ASTM F803 Approved” has been tested to ensure the highest level of protection. The polycarbonate lenses can prevent things like a ball or elbow to the eye, which could fracture the eye socket.
• Batting helmets that have polycarbonate face shields are a must for youth baseball, as they will prevent traumatic injuries related to being hit in the eye with a baseball, such as abrasions on the cornea.
• When playing hockey, use helmets and face shields which have been approved by the United States Amateur Hockey Association. This will protect your eyes from ice debris as well as place a barrier between your face and the puck.
Prevent Blindness America wants to encourage the public to be prepared for unexpected eye injuries by having a stocked first aid kit containing commercial eyewash and a rigid eye shield available for emergencies. They also urge strongly that in the event of any eye injury it is important to see a doctor immediately.