The World Cup is in full swing—Go USA!—and eyes around the globe are fixed on the sport of soccer, or “football,” as the rest of the world calls it.
But did you know that soccer is listed among the sports that cause the most eye injuries? Other sports dangerous to the eyes include racquet sports, baseball, basketball and water sports. Because soccer is a “hands off” sport and players often use their heads to make contact with the ball, the eyes are subjected to the risk of serious sight-threatening injuries.
Most soccer eye injuries occur due to a ball kicked near the goal post, where players congregate and play is aggressive. A direct blow to the eye from a soccer ball can break the bones surrounding the eye and damage structures near the eye’s surface, such as the eyelid, conjunctiva, cornea, iris, lens and sclera. It can also damage the retina and optic nerve.
It is strongly recommended that protective eyewear be worn when participating in sports, whether recreationally or professionally. The right kind of protective eyewear could save your vision.
Guidelines for Sports Protective Eyewear
Sports eye guards should fit comfortably yet securely, allowing the use of a helmet if necessary. Protective eyewear made of polycarbonate material provides the most impact resistance and can prevent up to 90% of sports-related eye injuries. Polycarbonate plastic lenses and Trivex lenses are lighter and 10 times stronger than other lenses, and 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. To ensure a comfortable fit, try on an eye guard before purchasing it. If you wear prescription lenses, you can order prescription eye guards to meet your needs.
Don’t risk a serious injury to your eye and possible loss of vision by failing to protect your eyes when you play sports. No matter what level of sports you play, your vision is always worth the extra care and protection of sports eye guards.
If you do suffer a blow to your face or eye while playing soccer or any other sport, see your eye doctor immediately to rule out any eye damage and prevent permanent vision loss.