April is Sports Eye Safety Month, and your trusted vision professionals at Nevada Eye Physicians in Las Vegas, Mesquite, Henderson, Pahrump, and Boulder City, NV want you to know not only the risks of sports-related eye injuries, but also the simple, but necessary, steps you can take in general eye injury prevention. Much like what we discussed during Workplace Eye Wellness Month, sports eye injuries can come from anywhere, depending on what sport you are playing. Did you know that, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, more than 40% of eye injuries are related to sports or other recreational activities? Of those injuries, nearly half come from just three sports alone: basketball, baseball, and air/paintball games.
The good news is most of the common sports eye injuries are preventable. However, to practice better sports eye safety, Nevada Eye Physicians want to share some helpful tips on protecting your eyes while playing sports and how to stop avoidable accidents from even happening in the first place.
Common Types of Eye Injuries That Can Happen in Sports
- Direct Contact – The most common and obvious sports eye injuries occur through blunt trauma to your eye, which is why basketball, baseball, and paintball tend to top the list of sports eye injuries. However, the truth is, any contact sport can be dangerous to your eyes.
- Eye Penetration – Typically more serious in nature, these eye injuries happen when someone or something accidentally breaches the surface of your eyeball, and, thus, may require immediate eye injury treatment from the specialists at Nevada Eye Physicians. Any kind of sport or activity that features projectiles are particularly susceptible to serious penetration injuries, and appropriate actions, such as wearing protective eyewear, should always be taken.
- Radiation Damage – Sometimes there’s nothing better than engaging in a friendly competition out under the sun or while you’re relaxing with friends and family at the beach. When you truly think about it, most people who engage in recreational sports do so outside. Unfortunately, those same bright rays you enjoy so much can be harmful to your eyes. Prolonged sunlight exposure can have dangerous long-term effects on your vision if you do not protect your eyes when you participate.
How to Protect Your Eyes During Eye Safety Month
Depending on the sport you are participating in, any or all of these options may be appropriate to take. If you are ever unsure of what precautionary measures you can take to protect your eyes while playing sports, consult your eye doctor at Nevada Eye Physicians and we’ll always be happy to offer some specific suggestions. Here are seven tips to protect your eyes during sports that you can utilize to get you started:
- Approved Eyewear: Believe it or not, your regular, everyday eyeglasses won’t properly protect you from various projectiles, elements, or accidents. Common lenses can crack frames and easily damage, and contacts can be lost, so be sure to explore your options for prescription eyewear that is approved by the American Society of Testing and Materials when playing contact or racket sports
- Safety Goggles: Specifically for sports involving targets or projectiles, you’ll want to step up your eye-protection game. Fast-moving objects can create unexpected accidents, and you’ll want to take that extra precaution to ensure your eyes are safe while participating.
- Face Masks: Gone are the days of looking cool or tough by not wearing a protective visor or cage during heavy contact sports. Any sport that requires a helmet should require a shield for your eyes as well. Your hockey league may prohibit checking, but that puck can certainly still come at you quite fast.
- Sun Shields: Are you big on tennis or beach volleyball? Then, there will be times you will be serving directly into the bright sun. Protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to the elements with secure sunglasses, or at least a protective visor, to shield your eyes from those potentially harmful rays.
- Anti-Reflection: These days, E-sports should be in the conversation, as they have become an increasingly popular competition among the younger generation who opt for video games as their hobby of choice. Gamers should consider investing in anti-reflective eyewear if you will be staring at your video screen for prolonged periods of time.
- New Gear: Staying up to date with your eye protection is paramount for optimal eye safety in sports. Older gear can easily crack or break, especially in contact sports, and may cause stray debris to land in your eyes.
- Consider LASIK: If you live a particularly active lifestyle playing multiple contact sports yet you still need corrective lenses to see the ball, target, or any oncoming opponents, it may be safer in many cases to simply remove eyeglasses or contact lenses from the equation completely with LASIK surgery. Consult Nevada Eye Physicians if you feel you might be an ideal candidate for the procedure.
Still have questions about sports eye injuries or how to protect your eyes when playing sports? Contact the eye experts today at Nevada Eye Physicians in Las Vegas, Mesquite, Henderson, Pahrump, or Boulder City, NV and we’ll be happy to help.