When you think of hard-hitting sports, you may think only of pads and gear or masks and mouth guards, but sports safety should also always include protecting your eyes. Each year, more than 40 percent of eye injuries reported occurred during sports play or other recreational activities. Ophthalmic injuries sustained during sports can have long-lasting and damaging repercussions.
Warmer weather and sunshine bring springtime sports. April is Sports Eye Safety Month, so we’re shining the spotlight on vision safety with 10 quick tips to keep your eyes safe during practice and play.
- Your normal eyeglasses just won’t cut it out on the court. Wear goggles or other protective eye gear. Looking a little bit silly is a small price to pay for safe and healthy eyes. Protective gear has the added benefit of keeping out things that may irritate your eyes and take you out of the game like dust, dirt or even bugs.
- Invest in sport-specific eyewear. If you need to wear eyeglasses during game time, purchase a pair that is specific to sports. These glasses have lightweight, flexible frames and shatterproof lenses made from poly-carbonate. Wear an eyeglass cord or pick a pair of frames that wrap around your head to prevent them slipping or falling off your face.
- Wear soft contact lenses and always have a backup. When playing sports, there’s always a possibility that you’ll be hit in the face with a fly ball or opponent’s elbow. Be prepared to lose a contact lens in the field and have a replacement lens or pair of eyeglasses on hand.
- Treat injuries immediately and see an ophthalmologist. Even if you think the injury you sustained was minor, a quick visit to the eye doctor is recommended to ensure the problem isn’t more serious. Procrastinating could lead to permanent eye injury or even blindness depending on the severity of your injury. If you are injured while playing sports, take the opportunity to discuss other safety options available to you.
- Consider having LASIK. If you are over the age of 18, LASIK is an option regardless of whether you play professionally or recreationally. In addition to improving your vision overall, LASIK offers additional benefits. If you normally wear glasses or sports goggles, LASIK may increase your peripheral vision and boost hand-eye coordination. Wearing contact lenses may dry out your eyes, causing you to blink more frequently and miss some of the action. In this case, LASIK may help to reduce dry eye symptoms.
- Safety first. Whether you have already had LASIK surgery or plan to have it in the future, wearing protective eye gear after surgery is essential to protecting your corneas. Any hard or abrupt impact by another player or a ball can damage the cornea or cause the corneal flap (an essential part of LASIK) to become dislodged, which will damage your eyesight.
If you’ve had LASIK and are concerned about your eye safety when playing sports, please contact Dr. Ashraf for a consultation.
Photo credit: © Glenda Powers/Photoxpress