PLAY BALL AND GEAR UP!
Spring arrives this month and that means spring sports are lining up into full gear. According to the to Prevent Blindness organization, “every 13 minutes, an emergency room treats a sports-related eye injury. And, 43 percent of sports-related eye injuries are to children ages 14 and younger.”
By using the right protective eye gear, the good news is that ninety percent of these eye injuries can be prevented. Know that regular glasses don’t provide enough protection. Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for youth baseball.
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, and many of the high school baseball and softball teams, spring training has already begun. Baseball is the sport most frequently associated with eye injuries among five to 14-year-old athletes, yet statistics show that 90 percent of sports-related eye injuries are preventable.
By wearing protective eyewear, a young person can avoid or reduce the impact of a serious injury. Without protective gear, a fast-moving baseball can injure the bones around the eye or even the eyeball itself, causing temporary or permanent vision problems; other players’ hands or gloves can scratch the eye, causing damage to the eye’s surface; and a misguided bat can cause head injuries leading to vision problems.
Protective eyewear like sports goggles can be either prescription or non-prescription. Sports goggles should be made of non-breakable materials. Helmets or headgear can also play an important role in protecting eyesight and preventing head injuries. In order to be assured that your eyes are protected, it is important that any eye guard or sports protective eyewear are labeled as ASTM F803 approved. This eyewear is performance tested to give you the highest levels of protection.
If an eye injury occurs while playing a spring sport, young people should be seen by their eye doctor or primary care provider as soon as the injury occurs. If not properly treated, vision problems can persist and lead to lifelong difficulty playing sports, driving or even maintaining certain jobs.
Poor depth-perception or other vision problems could present in the following ways:
- Always swinging the bat too early or too late
- Missing often while trying to catch the ball
- Squinting to see the ball or other players
Bissell Eye Care is a recognized Performance Vision Center by the Prevent Blindness organization. Our staff will help you select the right type of eye gear for the sport you are playing. Whatever your game, whatever your age, when playing any type of sports, you need to protect your eyes!
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.