Healthy Active Living with St. Joseph Healthcare

Keep Your Eye on the Ball – But Pamper those Peepers!

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football-zoom_blurWith the back to school season in full swing, student athletics is kicking off everywhere (pun intended). September is an appropriate time to observe Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month, sponsored by the nonprofit organization Prevent Blindness.

Aside from swimming, which seems to be the biggest source of accidental sports injuries to the eye, all the customary “landlubber” sports are also suspect, including basketball, air rifle shooting, baseball/softball and football.  Eye injuries suffered by athletes may include infection, corneal abrasions, swollen or detached retinas, and – worst case scenario – permanent vision loss.

Prevent Blindness offers the following tips:

  • If you wear eyeglasses, ask your doctor about prescription eyeguards. Athletes whose vision is good in only one eye are prone to faulty depth perception and should consult a specialist about what sports may be safe to play.
  • A sports helmet alone may not protect from eye injury. Prevent Blindness recommends additional safety eyewear.
  • Eye guards or sports protective eyewear should be labeled as ASTM F803 approved.
  • Don’t buy sports eyeguards without lenses. Only “lensed” protectors are recommended for sports use. Make sure the lenses either stay in place or pop outward in the event of an accident. Lenses that pop in against the eyes can be very dangerous.
  • Check the packaging to see whether the eye protector you select has been tested for sports use. Also check to see that the eye protector is made of polycarbonate material. Polycarbonate eyeguards are the most impact resistant.

Playing sports is an important part of being healthy and active. For expert advice on prevention and treatment of sports injuries of all kinds, contact St. Joseph Sports Medicine – a great resource for school athletes, coaches, teams and even weekend warrior athletes!

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