Sports Eye Injuries and the Importance of Protective Eyewear

  • BY Zenni Optical

Sports are a good way to maintain a healthy body, but they do pose a certain amount of physical risk, for novices and experts alike, regardless of age. If you’re not worried about what could happen to your eyesight should you get hit by an errant sports ball, you might want to reconsider. April is Sports Eye Safety Month, so take the time to learn more about how to protect your eyes when you take part in any type of sports activity.

The Why

According to the National Eye Institute — part of the National Institutes of Health–, every 13 minutes an emergency room treats a sports related eye injury. The most eye injuries come from sports such as basketball, boxing, baseball, hockey, racquetball and lacrosse. However even sports such as biking and wrestling pose a risk, though it is lower.

Even if an eye injury doesn’t seem serious, it still can be. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that if an eye that was hit begins to hurt or develops a vision problem then medical attention is necessary. A black eye should also be taken to have medical attention.

The How

Plan ahead to protect your eyes when you participate in sports by investing in eye protection gear such as sports glasses or sports goggles. Not to be confused with regular eyewear, sports glasses and sports goggles are designed to provide greater impact resistance. Each kind can be worn with contact lenses or have prescription lenses. Also, some sports goggles fit over regular glasses.

When buying a pair of sports glasses, pick a pair that is meant for the sport you engage in. Also pick a pair that will be physically comfortable to wear while you play. Aesthetics, though secondary, are also important – should your picture end up in the sports section you will want to look good.


The NIH states that using protective eyewear may keep your eyes from being injured up to 90% percent of the time. This could mean staying in the game rather than sitting it out. Beyond general safety, wearing sports glasses can influence your insurance rates. Fewer trips to the hospital or doctor’s office might mean smaller payments.

Sports Glasses and Children

Sports injuries are a common cause for blindness in children. The NIH along with other vision organizations recommend that coaches, teachers and parents make sure children wear protective eye gear during sports activities. It is also recommended that adults wear protective eye gear as an example to children, so that they will want to wear their eye gear as well.