April is Sports Eye Safety Month

Spring is in the air and with spring comes outdoor sports.  Unfortunately, approximately 42,000 sports eye injuries occur in the United States every year.  Many result in permanent vision loss.  Yet, today’s athletes have a number of eye protectors available to them, none of which hinder performance.
In recognition of April’s designation as Sports Eye Safety Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Eye M.D.s across the nation urge all athletes to wear appropriate protective eyewear.
“Protective eyewear can prevent up to 90 percent of sports eye injuries and I have been a staunch advocate of protective eyewear for sports teams in our community because eye injuries are one of the leading causes of visual impairment in children,” said Dr. Lloyd Taustine of the Taustine Eye Center.  “Parents need to understand that children can end up with injuries ranging from abrasions of the cornea and bruises of the lids to internal eye injuries such as retinal detachments and internal bleeding,” he said.
Athletes can now choose from various types of sturdy, lightweight, effective and fashionable eyewear. And when they have polycarbonate lenses and have been properly fitted by an eye care professional, eyewear does not hinder performance (see attached flier titled, “Appropriate Sports Eye Protection.”)
“It’s up to you as a parent to lobby for and protect your young athlete because many sports leagues still do not require protective eyewear.  The long-term benefits of playing sports are clear, but parents need to understand that sports are the leading cause of eye injuries in children. When eyewear is worn, the occurrence of eye injuries is greatly reduced,” said Dr. Taustine.
Basketball, football, hockey and baseball aren’t the only sports that contribute to the thousands of eye injuries suffered each year. Soccer, tennis, golf and water sports also are dangerous to the eyes. Each of these sports require a different type of protective eyewear, so see an Eye M.D. or other eye care professional for eyewear appropriate for your sport.
It’s a fact! If you play sports, you can get hurt. Whatever your game, whatever your age, protect your eyes with appropriate protective eyewear.

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