Protective eye gear may not be fashionable on the basketball court or the baseball diamond, but think for a moment about the logic of protecting our eyes.
We wear helmets to protect our heads and pads and braces to protect our bones and joints, so why not take the extra step to protect our eyes? We take extra steps to prevent concussions, broken bones, bruises, and chipped teeth, but what do we do to prevent the possibility of permanent vision loss, a scratched cornea, or a fractured eye socket?
Quick! Put your hands on your head. Are your glasses there? Grab your neck — are they dangling there? Now, hold your electric bill four feet from your face and try to read it....
Welcome to the midlife version of Simon Says, a nearly universal condition known as presbyopia, which translates roughly to "elderly eye" (as if crow's feet weren't enough). It usually starts in your early 40s, as the lens of the eye stiffens, losing its ability to focus and making it difficult to see objects...
Broken bones and bruises will heal, but a serious eye injury can put you on the disabled list from your favorite sport for the rest of your life.
How Do I Protect My Eyes While Playing Sports?
The ways in which an unprotected eye may be injured in a sporting event are too numerous to count. But the ways in which we can protect our eyes are simple and straightforward. It is especially important that children who are learning to coordinate or who have low skill levels wear protective eye gear. To reduce the risk of a serious eye injury, the following precautions should be taken when playing.
Baseball. In the event of an errant pitch, a ball lost in the sun or a thrown bat, a baseball player should wear a faceguard made of a sturdy plastic or polycarbonate material along with eye goggles or eye guards.
Basketball. Basketball players should wear eye goggles at all times in the event of an errant elbow, a stray poke from another player's finger, or even an errantly thrown basketball.
Soccer and football. Like other contact sports, an errant elbow, ball, foot, or finger can cause serious damage to the unprotected eye. Players should wear sports eye guards and, in football, a full faceguard should also be worn.
Hockey. Ever get a good look at a hockey player's teeth? Imagine such damage to your eyes. Sticks, pucks, and elbows all fly freely during a hockey match, and a player should wear a full polycarbonate material or wire mask to prevent eye and other possible facial injuries.
Tennis or racquetball. To protect your eyes from an errant or misjudged ball, or in the case of racquetball, your opponent's racquet, protective eye goggles should be worn at all times while playing these sports.