Keeping Your Eyes Safe on the Playing Field

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 13-Aug-2014

Sports are the cause of more than 40,000 eye injuries each year, and those injuries can do serious damage to the eye. Blunt trauma and impact injuries, penetrating or piercing injuries and radiation injuries are the most common eye injuries among athletes, depending on the sport they play.

Baseball ranks among the top sports for eye injuries. Basketball, hockey, and racquet sports also pose a serious risk to the eye. To understand the risk of eye injury in these sports, consider these facts:

  • Professional baseball players throw at speeds topping 95 mph.
  • A hockey puck travels at 90 to 100 mph.
  • In squash, players strike the ball at 125 to 145 mph.

The good news is that most of these sports-related eye injuries (about 90 percent) can be prevented with protective eyewear.

Eye injuries caused by blunt trauma are the most common type of sports-related eye injuries, especially in baseball. These injuries can be minor, such as a black eye, or more serious, including fractures to facial bones or even a ruptured eyeball. An eye injury as the result of blunt force trauma or impact to the eye can result in partial or total blindness.

If you play baseball, whether recreationally, on an amateur league or professionally, take the appropriate precautions to protect your eyes and save your vision.

Wear protective eyewear. Goggles or even sunglasses made of shatter-resistant polycarbonate protective lenses can protect the eyes from a sports-related injury. Polycarbonate lenses are 10 times stronger than other lenses and better able to withstand direct contact during sports like baseball. They are also the thinnest, lightest lenses available.

In addition to being shatter-resistant in the event of direct contact to the eye, polycarbonate lenses also filter 100 percent of ultraviolet light from the sun. This is an added bonus, as UV exposure can also damage the eyes.

Guidelines for protective eyewear

  • Protective eyewear should fit comfortably yet securely, allowing the use of a helmet if necessary.
  • Polycarbonate plastic lenses and Trivex lenses are lighter and 10 times stronger than other lenses, and they are better able to withstand direct contact during sports like racquetball, hockey and baseball.
  • Polycarbonate lenses for athletes must be used with protectors that meet or exceed the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Each sport has a specific ASTM code. The lenses should either stay in place or pop outward in the event of an accident.
  • Protective eyewear should be padded or cushioned along the brow and bridge of the nose to prevent cuts in the event of a direct hit to the face.

Failing to protect your eyes when playing sports like baseball could result in a serious eye injury and even vision loss. Don’t risk it. Talk to your eye doctor to find the protective eyewear that best suits your needs. No matter what level of sports you play, your vision is worth protecting.

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