Sports can be a wonderful way to stay in shape or to socialize with others. There are many benefits to regular exercise and studies suggest that those who participate in activities that bring them joy are more likely to do them. Sports are often the key that fits the lock for many people in this regard as the gamification and teamwork aspects are very appealing to many people. While sports are a great way to stay in shape, as with anything it is important to make sure that one stays safe. One of the underrated areas when it comes to sports safety is in eye protection.
As a result (and with March Madness just having passed and many eye injuries happening in basketball), the American Academy of Ophthalmology has recently reminded athletes that it is important to protect the eyes from injury and it can be done in most cases with some simple eye protection gear. Ocular injuries have impacted those from everyday kids playing pick-up games at home to professionals in the NBA. And it can be quite a serious matter with potential lifelong consequences in serious cases (including permanent blindness). Wearing protective goggles can often prevent these injuries. Some studies show that up to ninety percent of eye injuries could have been avoided if proper protection had been used.
Specifically, those playing basketball are recommended to wear polycarbonate lenses and to replace them as soon as they become damaged or yellowed as they may not be effective at that point. This recommendation is for those who have glasses as well as don’t and is especially stressed in children, where an unfortunately high percentage of injuries occur. For more aggressive sports like hockey and football, professionals recommend that more extensive helmets and head protection be worn even if it is not mandated by the league or the law. To get the best recommendation that is personalized for each person and to get specific product recommendations, it may be a good idea to talk to a ophthalmologist or optometrist.
It is important to listen to ophthalmology professionals when it comes to this because their suggestions are based on evidence and studies looking at the effect of eye protection on the public health. The eyes are a very special organ and one that is quite resilient but also fragile at the same time. It is important to protect them in order to avoid severe disability in later years of one’s life. It is especially important to let younger people know about the risks as they often may dismiss it under the false illusion of being young and healthy and having a feeling of invincibility. The data does not lie and it shows that eye injuries affect everyone and especially younger people. It should be the role of parents and coaches to stress safety above all else when it comes to sports and for adults to also set a good example for younger people when they are partaking in sports and other at-risk activities.
Author Bio: Tony Rollan provides consulting services to VEI (https://visionequipmentinc.com) and he is an author of many articles on all types of optical and ophthalmic equipment. Author blogs about medicine, health, alternative healing, sport and well being.
Image credit: Ozgur Coskun