Did you know that emergency rooms treat more than 45,000 recreational and sports-related eye injuries each year? Half of those patients are children. According to the National Institute of Health, these injuries cost more than $175 million and are the leading cause of blindness in children.
Yet despite the fact that wearing protective eye gear reduces the possibility of injury (by a whopping 90%!), most sports leagues do not require the use of eye protection during games and practices. It becomes the responsibility of parents, coaches and other role models to require the proper safety wear.
If you are a parent, protecting your child and sharing this information with coaches is crucial to reducing the number of vision-related injuries each year. Especially knowing that most injuries can be prevented and most children are not being adequately protected.
Which sports pose the most danger? Although, all sports pose a threat, baseball, basketball, ice hockey and racquet sports have the most injuries. Coming in second are soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. However, keep in mind, that even playing in the backyard can result in a serious eye injury.
Why safety goggles or glasses? Even though it seems like regular eye glasses would provide protection, wearing safety goggles that are made of a polycarbonate material will provide 10 times more resistance to impact and therefore can keep both children and adults out of the emergency room more often than not. In fact, polycarbonate materials can guard against flying projectiles of up to 90 miles per hour.
What should you look for when purchasing eye protection? Look for safety eyewear that meets the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
April is Sports Eye Safety Month and an excellent time to remind ourselves what we can do to help ourselves and our children stay safe while having fun. Not sure where to start? Check in with your local experts at Seidenberg Protzko Eye Associates (www.visionexperts.com) to find out the right type of protection for you and your family.