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Protect Your Vision and Stay in the Game

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Protect Your Vision and Stay in the Game

Do you know what season it is?

You guessed it, it’s ‘spring’. What’s spring best for?

It’s the perfect time for sports and outdoor games! As the cold winter fades away, many people welcome the warm sunshine of spring and summer with open arms and spend more time outdoors, engaging in sports and other activities.

It’s the perfect opportunity for individuals to head out and for athletic events to pop up in schools and leagues around the community. And why not? Sports are a great way to stay in shape, interact with others, build friendships, and have some fun.

Who doesn’t love sports? Yet, participation in such events and sports can also lead to injuries. We don’t mean that every sport you engage in will cause an injury, but the chances are still high.

The month of April is designated as Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

There are nearly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries reported in the USA’s emergency rooms every year.

Prevention is the key, and using sport-specific eye protection can save your vision. Any activity that can lead to potential injury requires eye protection to save your vision. It’s more than just eyeglasses, specifically safety and sports glasses.

Are Your Eyes at Risk?

Eye injuries can occur during any activity. Sports are among the highest ranked causes of eye injury, especially among children. 90% of these injuries can be prevented by simply wearing protective eyewear.

It doesn’t matter what sport it is; your eyes are at risk. Wearing protective eyewear not only guards you from injury but also against fast-moving objects, debris, dust, dirt, and sand.

On a side note, eye injuries are not just directed towards the participants but can also target people who prefer to watch from the stand. Instances of a flying bat, ball, or other objects can lead to injury. You need to be careful and pay attention to protect your eyes while cheering for your team.

Sports eye injuries

What Sports Cause Eye Injury?

Thousands of eye injuries occur every year, yet they can be avoided with the right precautions. Following are some sports that are prone to causing eye injuries:

  • Basketball

  • Baseball

  • Hockey

  • Paintball

  • Cricket

  • Squash

  • Rugby

  • Tennis

  • Football

  • Golf

  • Soccer

  • Winter sports

  • Volleyball

  • Boxing and Wrestling

Basketball is the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in the USA, followed by baseball, softball, airsoft rifles, pellet guns, racquetball, and hockey.

Most sports that have a ball involved are likely to cause eye injuries. Which isn’t really that surprising, right? Considering that a flying ball can go in any direction.

Type of Eye Injuries Caused by Sports

The most common eye injury caused by playing sports is corneal abrasion, where a foreign object enters the eye, which can be grass, dirt, or sand (causing scratches to the cornea).

Other injuries include:

  • Orbital fracture (break in the bones surrounding the eye)

  • Subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessels in the eye)

  • Eye swelling

  • Cuts, scratches, or bruises on the eyelid

  • Retinal detachment (tearing of the retina from the back due to jarring motions)

  • Hyphema (bleeding inside the front of the eye)

The Need for Protective Eyewear

With so many eye injuries reported as a direct result of sports activities, 90% of these injuries can be prevented with prescription glasses designed for use during exercise, outdoor hobbies, and other athletic activities. Safety eyewear isn’t just for the outdoors and sports; your vision needs to be protected when indoors as well.

Children encounter blindness due to eye injuries, and these are mostly among school-aged children during sports-related activities.

Sports eye injuries

Follow these eye protection tips to prevent eye injuries during sports activities:

  • Wear Safety Goggles:
    Use proper safety goggles, like lensed polycarbonate protectors, for racquet sports or basketball. Ensure the eye guard and protector are labeled ASTM F803 approved as it is an International Standard Specification for Eye Protectors for Selected Sports. This eyewear is performance tested to provide the highest level of protection.

  • Use Batting Helmets:
    Use polycarbonate face shields along with the batting helmets.

  • Wear Hockey Helmets and Face Shields:
    Use helmets that are approved by the USA Amateur Hockey Association when playing hockey.

  • Don’t Rely on Glasses:
    Understand that regular glasses or sunglasses do not provide an optimal level of protection against sports-related eye injuries.

  • Use Resistance Bands Carefully:
    During workouts, keep in mind that resistance bands with tight tension can snap or slip, causing severe eye injury.

Sports Eye Injuries: What the Future Holds for People with Sports Eye Injuries

The outlook for everyone varies. Early evaluation and treatment can improve the prognosis and help avoid permanent vision loss. The factors include:

  • Time elapsed before treatment

  • Severity of injury

  • Type of eye injury

Sports for People with Visual Impairment

People with legal blindness or limited vision compete and engage in every sport imaginable, with or without eye injuries. In some cases, the rules are modified, adaptive techniques are used, or adaptive equipment is required.

General Tips to Participate in Sports with Visual Impairment or Low Vision

  • Research about the area of interest: adaptive sports are represented by national groups like the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) or similar.

  • Get in touch with an athlete with vision loss and talk about adaptations that can be used in a particular sport.

  • Consult with your medical and eye doctor; some eye and medical conditions can be affected by athletic activities that involve bending, lifting, straining, and pulling.

  • Visit sports groups to get tips, answers, and resources for sports and leisure equipment and activities.

Assistive Technology for Visual Disabilities

Assistive technology helps improve the functional capability of an individual with visual disabilities. These devices help maintain, increase, or improve the vision and are considered a subset of low vision aids. Assistive technology low vision aids are not just specific to optical aids.

It also includes eBooks, screen magnification programs, screen reading, listening devices, and advanced head-mounted eyewear.

But what’s important during sports? Both visual acuity and motion stability.

All-in-one assistive technology helps improve all aspects of life where vision is involved. It can be used as a reader and help with mobility. Consider IrisVision, an FDA-approved and clinically validated device that helps enhance vision up to 6/6 or 20/20. IrisVision helps regain visual function that enables an individual to participate in activities of daily living, be it sports or mundane tasks, however they want.

Amy Dixon, a Paralympic triathlete, lives by a simple motto: No Sight, No Limits.

vision impaired athlete amy dixon

She is 98% blind due to a rare autoimmune disorder she got in her early 20s. She started using an IrisVision headset that has helped her full field of vision. While describing her sight, she said that she could only see her knuckles and part of her fingers, while her palm was completely missing. Using the IrisVision headset, she was able to see her whole hand for the first time in 22 years. The low vision aid has helped her with her daily tasks and various aspects of her Paralympic training.

The IrisVision headsets can be bought with a one-time payment and a 30-day trial period. As a person with visual impairment and a serious interest in sports, they can do a lot more than just daily tasks with IrisVision. You can learn more by clicking here.