Eye protection for sport

According to the Eyecare Trust, sport is the biggest cause of hospital admission for serious eye injury in the UK. Squash balls alone are responsible for 2,000 visits to hospital in the UK each year. Footballs, rugby balls, basketballs, shuttlecocks, and hockey sticks are also cited by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) as common culprits of sports-related eye injuries, not to mention other sports equipment (or sportspeople) colliding with the eyes – ouch!

But 90% of sports-related eye injuries are considered preventable. With the adoption of eye protection by many professional sportspeople, and the innovative development of both the functionality and style of active eye protection, sports eyewear is becoming more widespread – plus it not only protects the eyes but can also enhance performance too.

See clearly for peak performance

Tiptop vision is the first step to protecting your eyes whilst playing sport. The sharper you can see, the better your focus, aim, and reaction times will be, and the more likely you are to enjoy what you’re doing whilst preventing straining the eyes and causing future damage.

Have an eye examination and speak with your optometrist about eye protection that can help enhance your vision and sporting experience as well as protect your eyes while you’re active. They will be able to advise if any glasses or contact lenses you already wear are suitable for the activities you enjoy or whether some specialist eye protection is prudent. 

Equip your eyes for sport

For glasses wearers, a switch to soft contact lenses is a practical option for many sports that don’t pose much risk of contact with the eyes such as running and yoga. Polycarbonate lenses are the most suitable for sport with impact-resistant lens material and built-in ultraviolet protection.

For those sports where the eyes could be impacted – by an incoming ball, object, or person – specially designed protective eyewear is available both with and without a prescription.  

Even if you’re lucky enough to have 20/20 vision without the need for vision correction, eye protection is still important. And thanks to ever-evolving and innovative technology, sporting equipment for the eyes can enhance your performance as well as protect your peepers.

Specially designed impact-resistant frames or goggles can be fitted with prescriptions if necessary and protect the face and eyes from those sporting objects that can be whizzing at you at over 100 miles per hour!

Water safety for your eyes

Whilst contact lenses can be a good option for many low-impact sports, they shouldn’t be used for swimming and water sports.

When water hits the eye, contact lenses can become dislodged or washed out entirely causing immediate distortion of vision, or, in worst cases, water in lenses can cause infection.

A sensible alternative for water sports is prescription goggles. Swimming goggles come ready-made for basic prescriptions, and as well as helping you to see clearly and safely in the water, they can offer UV protection too.

If you do decide to wear contact lenses whilst in the water, make sure you use daily disposables and throw them away as soon as you get out of the water, and wear non-prescription goggles to prevent water from getting near your eyes.

Watch out for UV

Besides direct eye injuries resulting from sport, if you regularly enjoy outdoor sports and activities, it’s worth considering specialist eye protection to counter the amplified UV risk you’re likely to be exposed to – especially if you take part in sports in high-glare environments like the beach, on the water, or on the snow.

UV protection alone doesn’t make a pair of sunglasses effective against glare so it may be worth considering a polarized or mirrored lens which is also UV-protected to help to reduce glare.

If it isn’t practical to wear glasses or sunglasses whilst playing sport, discuss contact lenses with built-in UV protection with your optician.

Read more about protecting your eyes from UV damage

Keep an eye on your eyes

Finding out about your lifestyle and what you enjoy doing is an important part of our eye examinations. Your optometrist can suggest solutions to keep your eyes comfortable and healthy so that you can make the most of doing what you love.

We recommend you have an eye health check every two years to check for any damage to your eyes but check in with us at any time for advice about eye care, protecting your eyes, or if you have any concerns about the health of your eyes.

Get in touch today to book an appointment with one of our experienced optometrists.

Call 02392 550723 for Lee-On-The-Solent or 01329 832706 for Wickham.

Alternatively email lee@optomeyes-eyecare.co.uk or wickham@optomeyes-eyecare.co.uk and one of the team will call you back to book your appointment.