More than 40 percent of eye injuries that occur every year are related to sports or recreational activities. A recent study found that about 30,000 people in the U.S. went to an emergency department with a sports-related eye injury. Basketball, baseball and softball accounted for almost half of all those injuries. Basketball was the leading cause of injury in male youth athletes, followed by baseball. Softball was the leading cause among female youth athletes, followed by soccer.
In support of Sports Eye Safety Month in April, OHSAA partner, the Ohio Ophthalmological Society is offering athletes of all ages guidance on how to protect their eyes. Sports-related injuries can range from corneal abrasions and bruises on the lids to more serious, vision-threatening internal injuries, such as a retinal detachment and internal bleeding. About one-third of sports related eye injuries happen to kids. The good news is that simply wearing protective eyewear can prevent about 90 percent of eye injuries. Follow these tips to save your vision:
- Wear the right eye protection: For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear protection with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses.
- Put your helmet on: For baseball, ice hockey and lacrosse, wear a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield.
- Know the standards: Choose eye protection that meets American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
- Throw out old gear: Eye protection should be replaced when damaged or yellowed with age. Wear and tear may cause them to become weak and lose effectiveness.
- Glasses won’t cut it: Regular prescription glasses may shatter when hit by flying objects. If you wear glasses, try sports goggles on top to protect your eyes and your frames.
If you, your school or league would like to sign-up to be notified when more FREE protective batting helmets, fielder's masks and goggles will be available, visit the Play Hard. Don't Blink. website: www.playhardgear.com. Enter your email address by clicking on the type of equipment that you would like to request and you will be emailed when the applications for equipment are available.
Finally, be prepared and know what to do if a sports eye injury occurs by watching this short video: https://youtu.be/oM3-1zVh8JQ