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Eye-Safety-in-SportsWith the school buses back on the road, it is easy to see that school is back in session. If your children are like many, this also means that fall sports have started back up again. Players suit up with the proper uniform, but having the right eyewear will also help your kids keep their eye on the ball, resulting in a great fall sports season.

From soccer, football, lacrosse, fall baseball and other contact sports, each year 42,000 athletes suffer eye injuries that result in a visit to their eye doctor or emergency room. Many of these injuries are preventable with the proper eye protection.

Many eye injuries from contact sports occur when impact from a ball or another player can lead to several different types of injuries. The injuries most commonly seen are corneal abrasions, fracturing of the orbital bone (eye socket), or swollen and detached retinas.

While eye injuries are more common in contact sports, they are not limited to these activities. Many students suffer damage to their eyes from not having the proper eye protection from the sun. Activities such as marching band, cheerleading, or even running cross country, tend to have the students outside in the sun for prolonged periods of time. The UV rays of the sun can sun burn an eye much like it can skin. This can result in a range of problems from discomfort and dry eye, to permanent loss of sight in extreme cases.

Now the good news! In most cases, the proper eye protection can prevent your children from having to endure these injuries. Spectators should also take precautions, especially with using sunglasses with UV protection.

Polycarbonate safety goggles offer great protection from injuries in sports such as basketball, racquetball, tennis and soccer. When looking for goggles, be sure they fit properly and that they are labeled ASTM F803 approved. These are the goggles that have been tested and are approved for impact sports.

If your child plays hockey or baseball, a helmet with a protective face shield will offer the most protection from a wild pitch, a flying puck or even a stick. Make sure the helmet fits properly and does not move around on their head or fall off. It is also important to have the shield fit snugly to your child’s face and chin.

For activities such as marching band, cheerleading, or cross country, be sure that your children are sporting a pair of sunglasses that have UV protection. Because these activities are not considered high impact contact sports, regular sunglasses with UV protection will help to prevent damage from the sun.

As your kids suit up this fall, be sure that their uniform includes the proper eye protection. Wishing you all a successful fall sporting season!

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.