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The Importance of Protective Eyewear | Long Island Eye Doctor

The Importance of Protective Eyewear
Joel Kestenbaum, OD

I was on the field watching my grandson play soccer and although he does not wear glasses, there were other children on the field wearing what I would call their everyday eyewear or street glasses.  Being in the optical field for many years, I started to wonder how many children and adults are playing sports without protective eyewear.  So I did some research and found that more that 600,000 eye injuries related to sports and recreation occurs each year.   42,000 of these injuries are of a severity that requires Emergency Room attention.  More than 90% of all eye injuries can be prevented with the use of appropriate protective eyewear.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association all strongly recommend protective eyewear for all participants in sports in which there is a risk of eye injury.  Basketball, baseball, softball, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, soccer, volleyball, water polo, football, air rifle, BB gun, paintball, boxing,  martial arts, racquetball, fencing , badminton, fishing, paddleball, and golf are all considered to be a high-to-moderate risk of causing eye injuries.

My personal story sums it up.  When playing golf and not wearing my Nike Sports Eyeglasses, my swing kicked some turf up into my eyes causing a corneal abrasion.  This abrasion, within 3 hours, turned into a corneal ulcer and an Iritis (inflammation of his iris).  Treatment and cure took over a month.  I now wears my sports eyewear for every athletic activity.

In addition, one in eighteen college athletes will sustain an eye injury each season.  The odds increase to one in ten for basketball players.  One in eight victims of severe eye injury and one in twenty of less severe eye injury initiate legal proceedings against parties assumed to be responsible.

Why is sports eyewear only recommended and not mandatory, especially for children’s sports?  Football and hockey leagues require helmets.  Baseball players wear batting helmets and never wear their street glasses.  It is my opinion that any sport played with a ball or a puck should require sports eyewear by their participants.  There is absolutely no downside.

Should you need some advice on this topic, please contact any one of our qualified staff at Optix Family Eyecare Center.  Stay safe.

Dr. Joel Kestenbaum

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