Ranging from minor to severe, sports-related eye injuries are common. Research provided by the CNIB shows thousands of Canadians suffer sports-related eye injuries each year, some of which can lead to permanent vision loss. The good news is, 90% of these injuries are easily preventable and are often easy to avoid if the proper steps and measures are taken to play safe and responsibly.
Below are five tips for keeping your eyes safe while participating in your favourite activities.
Your regular eyeglasses can provide a bit of protection from dust and dirt getting into your eyes, and depending on size of lenses, they may afford some defence from an incoming object. However, they are no substitute for protective sports equipment, such as goggles or a face shield. Standardized head and eye protection should always be the first choice for professional and amateur sports players alike.
Safety eyewear is designed to withstand higher impact than regular eyewear, so safety glasses, goggles, and sports eye protection must meet a certain criterion of safety requirements and be made with strong materials. Polycarbonate products are shatter resistant, lightweight and can even be created to fit your prescription. Polycarbonate is a powerful plastic capable of withstanding the force of a .22-caliber bullet, so it is natural that a large percentage of sports headgear and eye protection are made with it.
When it comes to protective sports eyewear, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If the sport you are participating in has standardized equipment, you should get fitted for it. Play with the protection recommended by the Canadian Standards Association for your sport, and consult your local athletic association or sports store to find specific recommendations for protective eyewear and equipment.
This tip should speak for itself, but many sports lovers have a “tough it out” mentality that’s often linked to the sport itself, peer pressure or self-determination. Eyes are very delicate and even a minor cut or abrasion has the potential to turn into something more serious if left untreated or sustains repetitive injury. If you have been injured in or around the ocular area, stop playing immediately and consult a doctor or your optometrist. Don’t return to the sport until you’ve checked with your health practitioner that it is safe to do so.
Before you start playing any kind of sport on a regular basis, you should consult with your optometrist to have a comprehensive eye exam to ensure your vision health allows for safe participation. If you are unsure about a previous injury and how it may affect you, mention it during your eye exam. Your optometrist may also recommend specific vision solutions such as prescription goggles or a recommended tint to purchase; options that can keep your eyes happy and healthy, both on and off the field.
While enjoying your favourite sport, don’t forget about the safety of people off the field cheering you on or enjoying the game. Spectators have chances of sports-related eye injuries too. From particles to direct contact with equipment or lack of UV eye protection, injuries do happen, and a good understanding of first aid pertaining to your sport is key to keeping everyone safe.
When heading to the rink, the pool, the field or the court, always pack a first aid kit, be aware of where the nearest hospitals are, and brush up on injury signs so you can spot them in others. Knowing what to do in case of an emergency can save valuable times and can help in preventing vision loss.
Book an eye exam at your local FYidoctors clinic today.