Fall is just around the corner and students are back in school. You may be seeing an influx of younger patients in your office around this time of year. This may include students with school vision screening referrals, kids complaining they can’t see the board or athletes starting fall sports. September is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month, so take this opportunity to educate patients and prescribe the appropriate eye protection.
Prevalence of Sports-Related Eye Injuries
2017 data from Prevent Blindness shows that more than 33,000 patients were treated for sports-related eye injuries in the U.S that year. The highest incidence of injuries occurred from water and pool activities, with a majority of patients between the ages of 0-14. Basketball followed with the second-highest incidence of injuries. Racquetball is another dangerous sport because the smaller size of a racquetball allows it to easily fit into the eye socket.
Sports-related eye injuries may include:
How You Can Help Prevent Eye Injuries
Studies show that about 90 percent of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented. Taking action to prevent injuries starts in your exam lane. Consider asking your patients to fill out a short questionnaire about their activities and hobbies. Discuss any sports activities where your patient should be wearing eye protection. If your patient is young, make sure to ask the parent if the child wears sports goggles.
It’s important to ensure that the patient is not wearing regular glasses while performing any sports activities. Inform patients that their glasses may shatter upon impact and can cause further injury if worn for sports. Advise them to opt for polycarbonate lens materials for increased impact resistance.
All protective eyewear must meet ASTM F803 standards. These are standard specifications for eye protection across a variety of sports including racket sports, women’s lacrosse, field hockey, basketball, baseball, and soccer. Again, educate your patient on the importance of only purchasing sports eyewear that meets this standard.
Another option is to fit the patient with contact lenses which provide a better peripheral vision for sports. The patient can wear non-prescription sports goggles over the contacts. Athletes who are amblyopic or otherwise monocular should wear sports goggles at all times. Also, recommend proper UV protection for outdoor sports and activities. Promoting eye safety awareness is important year-round as people transition from warm weather to cold weather sports.
Provide Your Patients With Quality Eye Protection
Having proper eyewear for sports is not only important for safety, but it can also improve athletic performance. When your patients can see better and feel confident about their eyewear, they’ll be better able to focus on their athletics.
At R&D Optical Lab, an independent lab, we offer a variety of custom eyewear suitable for all types of sports. We carry prescription ski goggles, swim goggles, and scuba masks and specialize in difficult prescriptions. We manufacture the best quality custom lenses and eyewear in the industry.
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