Friends for Sight urges you and your family to use proper eye protection while participating in sports and other physical activity.
Did you Know?
- More than 25,000 sports-related eye injuries require emergency room attention each year in the U.S. 1,2
- 90% of serious eye injuries can be prevented by wearing protective eye wear. 1,3
- 20% of eye injuries in youth are sports-related according to a recent study. 4
- A leading cause of blindness in children is eye injury.1,3
Sports-Related Eye Injuries
More than sports-related eye injuries are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year.1 These include:
- Corneal abrasion: scratches on the clear front part of the eye
- Inflamed iris: inflammation of the colored part of the eye
- Hyphema: blood in the clear part of the eye, between the cornea and iris.
- Traumatic cataract: clouding of the lens of the eye
- Detached retina: Retina detached from back of the eye
- Eye Socket Fracture: broken bone around the eye
Which Sports Are Riskiest?
Recent data compiled for injuries by type and age for 2020 show that while the highest number of injuries occur with water sports, the highest risk is with ball sports.2 Often sports are categorized by risk level.
- High-risk sports include air rifle, paintball, racquet sports, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, and boxing.
- Moderate-risk sports include tennis, volleyball, football, and fishing.
- Lower risk sports include swimming, diving, skiing, wrestling, and bicycling.
Sunglasses Are Not Protective!
Prescription glasses, sunglasses and even occupational safety glasses do not provide adequate protection! Prescription glasses should NEVER be worn as protective eyewear.1,3
What Can I Do?
Everyone that plays sports should protect their eyes! Choose eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
In baseball, ice hockey, soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse, a helmet with a polycarbonate (an especially strong, shatterproof, lightweight plastic) face mask or wire shield should be worn. Polycarbonate lenses must be used with protectors that meet or exceed the requirements of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). Most sports have a specific ASTM standard which are directed to the specific risks likely to be encountered in that sport. 2,3
- Before purchasing eye protection, look for the appropriate ASTM standard on the product and/or its packaging.
- Check the ASTM website to find the most up to date and appropriate ASTM standard for the sport you are playing.
- Read Preventing Eye Injuries from the American Academy of Ophthalmology
- Read Tips from the National Eye Institute
- Read Tips for Buying Sports Eye Protectors from Prevent Blindness
- Explore the Sports Safety Portal from Prevent Blindness
1. Sports Eye Safety. American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2. Eye Injuries by Type and Age. Prevent Blindness. 2022; 3. Sports Eye Protectors, Prevent Blindness; 4. Dockery DM et al. A 5-Year Retrospective Assessment of Clinical Presentation Associated with Sports Injury in Young People Presenting to a Tertiary Eye Center. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2021;58.