Sports Eye Health Safety Protective eyewear could save 40,000 injuries per year and 13,000 cases of legal blindness
Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center encourages athletes to wear eye protection as spring sports season gets underway

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has designated April as Sports Eye Safety Month. In support, Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center wants to help remind parents, coaches and athletes of the importance of eye health including the wearing protective eyewear when participating in sports.

Each year, of the 100,000 eye related sports injuries an estimated 42,000 people are treated in the emergency room and nearly 13,500 end up legally blind. Sadly, children account for the majority of these injuries since many children’s teams don’t require them to wear eye protection. According to a study, 41 percent of emergency room visits due to eye injury were children ages 10 to 14.

From a scratch caused by another player’s finger to the more serious, potentially blinding injuries such as a ball to the eye, there are a range of eye injuries that result from athletic activities:

• Corneal abrasions: scratches on the surface of the eye
• Orbital fracture: bones around the eye are broken
• Detached retina: when the light sensitive lining of the back of the eye is pulled out of place

Eye injury prevention is a step in the right direction toward maintaining healthy vision throughout your life. Studies have shown that more than 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented through the use of appropriate protective eyewear. Keep in mind these sight-saving tips when determining whether you or your child may need eyewear protection:

• Proper eye protection is widely available for a variety of sports including hockey, football, lacrosse and water polo, as well as racquetball, soccer and downhill skiing.
• Lenses made from polycarbonate materials provide the highest level of protection. They can withstand the impact of a ball or other projectile traveling at 90 miles per hour.
• Always choose eye protection that has been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.

Dr. Robert Pinkert is an optometrist at Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center. Robert Pinkert is a board certified Optometrist by the American Board of Optometry and a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, as well as a founding member of the Optometric Glaucoma Society.

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