Sports Eye Injuries

If you think sports-related eye injuries are not important, think about these facts:

  • The average hockey puck travels at 90-100 mph.
  • Professional baseball players throw balls at about 95 mph.
  • High-speed film has demonstrated that elite squash players strike the ball at 125-145 mph.
  • A badminton shuttlecock has been clocked at 140 mph.
  • Polycarbonate protects against a .22 caliber bullet.

If you consider that even a novice 12-year-old squash player can hit a ball at 80 mph, you will understand that high-velocity flying objects can do irreparable damage to the human eye. Your vision is precious, protect it.

The majority of sports-related and recreational activities and eye injuries could have been prevented if the athletes had worn appropriate, certified protective eyewear. The right kind of protective eyewear can make a huge difference. For example, in Canada, ocular trauma related to ice hockey decreased by 90 percent after certified full-face protector and headgear was made mandatory in organized amateur hockey.

Children and Sports Eye Injuries

Children are at particular risk for a sports-related eye injury. Every year, more than 30,000 children sustain serious sports-related eye injuries. That is why it is essential that all children wear appropriate, protective eyewear whenever playing sports.

Basketball is responsible for more than 2,500 eye injuries in children age 5 to 14 and accounts for 32 percent of eye injuries in teens and young adults (15-24 year olds). It may be surprising to know that it is not the ball that causes most of these injuries, but rather the fingers and elbows of other players. Almost all of these injuries could have been prevented had the child worn appropriate protective eyewear.

Parents are advised to acquaint themselves with the potential for eye injuries in sports and recreational activities (including gym) and to insist that their children use appropriate, protective eyewear when participating in sports or other fun activities. Just as your child wears a bike helmet, so must he or she learn to automatically reach for sport-appropriate, protective eyewear when heading for the field or court.