The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that about 30,000 sports related eye injuries are treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms each year. Many of these injuries can be avoided if proper protection is worn. Many people think that eye protection is something that is worn by people in risky occupations such as welders and construction workers. This however, is not always the case, as protective eyewear is just as important for athletes.  

The sports that pose the most risk to your eyes includes basketball, which is the most common cause of eye related sports injuries followed by baseball. Shooting sports, such as airsoft and paintball are also considered high risk, secondary to racket sports and soccer. Other sports where eyes can be injured include swimming, lacrosse, hockey, football and even skiing. For most sports, it is easy to find proper protective eye wear in the form of specialized goggles or face coverings. If you can’t find specialized eyewear, polycarbonate goggles are always an option. The polycarbonate lens offers great protection to your eyes as the lens is a very strong material and it will not shatter. Sometimes, you can even get prescription goggles which can allow you to leave your glasses to the side to prevent them from getting damaged while still being able to see clearly.  

Some outdoor activities including hiking, biking and skiing don’t involve a lot of contact-related damage to the eyes, however, your eyes are still at risk. The primary concern in this case is Ultra-Violet (UV) light. UV light can cause many changes and can damage the eyes. It can cause dry eye, accelerate the growth of cataract development and macular degeneration. You should find a good pair of sunglasses that completely protects your eyes and has UV blocking technology built in. You can also choose a pair of sunglasses with a different tint or polarization in order to enhance contrast and reduce glare.  

If an eye injury does occur during outdoor sports and activities, it is important to schedule a visit with your eye care provider immediately to ensure that proper treatment is initiated promptly. If you have a question about what eye wear is appropriate for you, then contact 860-233-2020 to schedule an appointment with one of our eye care specialists today.  

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