Each sport has its own unique risks of eye injury and requires its own type of protective eyewear, which is why the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) sets the standard for sports eye protection. Polycarbonate lenses offer the best protection for many sports because the material is thin, lightweight and impact-resistant. They are available in most prescriptions, as well as without a prescription.
Baseball has the highest eye injury rate, as players run a greater risk of being hit in the face by a fast-moving ball. Look for faceguards and protective eyewear that meet the ASTM F910 standards before stepping up to the plate.
Basketball players can receive eye injuries caused by the impact of another player’s fingers or elbows. Protective goggles are available to decrease the chance of injury and are available with and without a prescription.
Tennis, racquetball, and badminton are also known to have high eye injury rates. Serves can range up to 200 miles per hour, making goggles or safety glasses essential for avoiding severe injury.
Sports eye injuries are not uncommon and can be serious; however, they are easily preventable. If you are not sure which type of eyewear is best for the sport that you or your child participates in, please contact your eye care provider.
Sources: All About Vision, AAO, AOA, Glaucoma.org, NIH.gov