Most people are aware of the importance of proper eye protection in sports such as hockey or racquetball, and wear face masks or appropriate safety goggles. Unfortunately, many people are injured each year in a variety of other “less dangerous” sports which also require proper eye protection. The American Academy of Opthalmic Executives (AAO) recognizes April 2008 as Sports Eye Safety Month to help increase public awareness of wearing protective eyewear when participating in team sports.
The AAO offers the following talking points and safety tips regarding protective eyewear for sporting events:
“1. During April’s Sports Eye Safety Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Eye M.D.s around the country urge athletes to wear protective eyewear when playing.
- An estimated 40,000 sports eye injuries occur every year. The majority of victims are children, too many of whom suffer permanent visual impairment.
- For young athletes, baseball and basketball account for the largest number of injuries.
- Little League pitchers may throw the ball up to 70 mph – fast enough to break bones and do serious damage to the eye.
- In basketball, you can’t prevent contact with flying elbows and fingers, but the serious eye injuries they can cause can be prevented by wearing appropriate protective eyewear.
- Many other popular sports, such as tennis, soccer, football, golf, water sports and hockey, also put unprotected players at risk for serious eye injury.
2. Studies have shown that by wearing the right protective eyewear more than 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented.
- Specific eyewear is available for just about all activities. Your Eye M.D. can recommend the appropriate eyewear for your sport.
- Most protective eyewear, including goggles, face shields and guards should be made of polycarbonate plastic.
- Protective eyewear must be properly fitted by an eye care professional.
- Regular street glasses and contacts do not offer enough protection for sports.
3. It’s up to parents to ensure their children wear eye protection when they play sports.
- Many children’s sports leagues, schools and teams don’t require children to wear eye protection. Parents must insist that children wear eye protection every time they play and set a good example by wearing eye protection themselves whenever they play.
- One-eyed athletes need to be especially careful by wearing eye protection at all times during sport and recreational activities.
- There’s no evidence that wearing eye protection hampers athletic performance. Many famous athletes, including NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, have excelled in their respective sports while wearing protective eyewear.
- It’s a fact! If you play sports you can get hurt.”
Previously on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- How ankle braces prevent serious volleyball injuries
- Why head injuries are more common among football players in high school than in college
- Bicycle-related children’s injuries that are more significant than once believed
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