All doctors, and especially eye doctors, encourage patients to live an active lifestyle. Exercise is important to overall health, and sports are one of the best forms of exercise. But what if you wear corrective lenses? Should you take your contacts out? Is playing sports in glasses safe? Or should you wear protective goggles even if that means playing with blurred vision?
According to the National Institute for Health, nine out of 10 sports-related ocular injuries can (and we would argue should) be prevented with the use of eye protection.
Your regular corrective glasses or contact lenses don’t provide any protection for your eyes, and in fact, put you at far greater risk for severe eye injuries. So it’s especially important to use either safety glasses, goggles, shields, or guards when playing sports.
Safety Gear: More Than Meets the Eye
What’s so special about safety glasses, goggles and shields? Mostly, the material. While most plastics are durable, the clear polycarbonate that makes safety eyewear is 10 times stronger.
Even better is the variety of products available for playing sports in glasses or contacts. From Olympian Michael Phelps to former NFL Running Back Eric Dickerson and Lacrosse’s famous Casey Powell, there’s a design for everyone who still relies on corrective lenses.
Opticians and Options
So you’re convinced, and ready to take your eye safety seriously. What’s next?
If you wear contacts or glasses, you shouldn’t just stroll into a sports store and grab whatever looks the coolest. Start with a call to your eye doctor, who knows your lifestyle and needs. You won’t want a full face cage for a ski trip, for example. Depending on the sport and your prescription, he’ll work with you for the best solution. Then, our optical shop will do the rest.
The American Society of Ocular Trauma recommends every home has at least one pair of ANSI-approved safety eyewear to don spontaneously when fun activities (or dangerous house projects) arise. So mention this to your doctor as well, and plan to get an extra pair.
Play It By Eye
Still need convincing?
Spend a minute enjoying the AAO’s most celebrated sports injuries, and see if you don’t experience sympathy pains as you read. From career-enders to legislation-makers, these famous sports icons need no further convincing. Statistically, in the time it takes to read this article, at least one person will go to an American emergency room to be seen for a preventable sports-related injury. And those folks probably will never be famous.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar is a great example of someone who experienced a corneal scratch and made a change. We encourage you to make the change before the unfortunate event of an eye injury. Make an appointment today to discuss your lifestyle, your custom prescription, and which sports goggles are right for you.
Sports Eye Safety Month is fast approaching, and we haven’t decided what to wear. Maybe we’ll wear… safety glasses!
For questions or comments, contact Woodhams Eye Clinic.