EXTREME SPORTS REQUIRE CLARITY
For many Americans, spring cleaning is not only a time to clean, but time to pull the fun toys out of storage. Toys such as the pair of jet skis neatly tucked away in the back of the garage or the four-wheeler that is out in the shed. While most thrill seekers take safety precautions when riding these vehicles, eye protection is often forgotten.
With all the excitement these high intensity motorsports deliver, most can’t wait to hop on and go, whether on water or through the woods. While many people remember the big ticket safety items such as the helmet or life vests, they often forgo eye protection, as part of their standard safety equipment.
The thrill of blazing down the trails on your four-wheeler, or skimming up one of our 3 rivers sitting atop a high-power jet ski, is what makes summer so appealing. You get ready for the season by taking care of your toys and doing such things as changing the oil or putting a new set of tires. But are you making sure you are ready to get out and get going with proper safety equipment?
Walking down the ramp to the dock, you throw on a life vest, jump on the Jet Ski and you take off full throttle down the river. What could go wrong? With your life vest on you are fully confident that you will float back to the surface if you are thrown off. But what if you aren’t thrown off? Can’t get hurt, right? There you are, cruising down the river and bam, catch a bug or piece of debris from the river in the face, even worse, a direct shot into the eye. While having a bug fly into your eye is bad enough, compound that with you traveling at 40+ mph.
This scenario is played out every year, and many times it ends with the rider taking a trip to the emergency room or to see their eye doctor. The impact of the bug to your eye can cause damage that can permanently affect your vision. A simple pair of sunglasses or goggles will not only help to prevent a bug from entering your eye, but will also help to reduce dry eye from the wind you experience at high speed. Sunglasses will also protect your eyes from the UV rays of the sun as they reflect off the water.
Off to camp you go as you back your four-wheeler off of the trailer and throw on your helmet, riding pants, boots, and t-shirt. Down the trail into the woods, hitting familiar trails throughout Western PA. Your goggles fog up so you take them off. It is all too easy to not think twice about taking them off as you can now see clearly again. That’s when it hits you, the branch you didn’t see hanging down over the trail.
Unfortunately this time you don’t have goggles on and it hits your face giving you an orbital fracture, or a fracture of the bone surrounding your eye. Some riders may experience a scratched cornea. Without safety goggles there is nothing to absorb the impact of the branch and you take the brunt of the impact. This fun weekend just took a turn down a wrong path as you now are faced with having to go to the emergency room.
Having the right eye protection when you are enjoying the outdoors, whether it is over the river or through the woods, can help to keep you safe as you enjoy your summer. Proper eye protection when using high octane personal vehicles can reduce the chances of injury from a foreign object impact, wind causing dry eye and UV rays from the sun. Be sure you sport up with the right eye protection. If you are unsure, give our office a call. At Bissell Eye Care, we carry a variety of sports eye wear. Summer is right around the corner. Make it a safe one.
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.