Joining a club or team is a fun way to try new things, meet people, and be active. No matter what your age, fall is the perfect time to refocus after a relaxing summer and pick up extracurricular activities that inspire and refine your skills. No matter what age, participating in any focused-based activity or fall indoor/outdoor sport may run the risk of damaging your eyes.
Research provided by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind shows that each year thousands of Canadians suffer sports-related eye injuries, some of which can lead to permanent vision loss. Yet, according to the CNIB, 90% of these injuries are easily preventable. Eye fatigue or eye strain is caused by the eyes being taxed for a prolonged period of time.
With that in mind, here are five simple ways to prevent extra-curricular-related eye injuries from happening;
1. Don't substitute regular glasses for protective eyewear
Not only do you risk potentially damaging your frames and lenses, but you also risk damaging your eyes if parts of your eyewear become dislodged or broken. Instead, choose a form of protective eyewear that has been specifically designed and rated for the activities you're involved in.
2. Wear lenses made of polycarbonate material
Polycarbonate is a powerful plastic capable of withstanding the force of a .22-caliber bullet. In addition to being incredibly strong, polycarbonate lenses are also lightweight, scratch resistant and can be matched with most prescriptions, making them the ideal protective eyewear material for virtually any kind of sport or heavy-duty art or hobby.
3. Choose the right equipment for your activity
When it comes to protective sports eyewear there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That's why it's important to choose equipment that's been specifically created for your activity, whether it's polycarbonate basketball goggles, a CSA certified hockey helmet with face protector, or adequate lighting so you can see what you’re working on clearly.
4. Modify your setup to fit your comfort
Adjust music stands or table top surfaces to eye level or slightly below and place it where you won’t have to turn your body or crane your neck to see the notes or project you’re working on. Maintaining a neutral head and neck position is a key element to reducing the occurrence of eye strain.
5. Be aware of how your eyes are feeling
Eyes weren’t meant to repeatedly scan small text such as musical notes or smaller sized handicrafts/art projects for an extended length of time. Doing so overworks the muscles in the eyes to the point where they begin to spasm and cause vision to blur. This eye strain can sometimes lead to ocular migraines. Relieve stress on your eyes by blinking often or using lubricating eye drops. Be mindful of having proper light and taking appropriate resting breaks when your eyes begin to fatigue.
At your next eye appointment, don’t forget to mention any new sports or activities you’re participating in to your optometrist. Not only will this allow you to get a comprehensive eye exam to ensure your vision health is up-to-date, but your OD can also recommend specific vision solutions that can keep your sight happy and healthy. For more information on polycarbonate lenses and other protective sports eyewear, find an FYidoctors location nearest you.