“Only Game Day Matters,” and Other Sports Eye Safety Myths, Debunked

Eye Health
soccer ball on a soccer field

MyEyeDr. Shares Insights For Athletes to Properly Equip Their Eyes This Season

According to a study from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. Although eye injuries suffered while participating in recreational sports are a leading cause of eye-related emergency room visits, more than 90 percent of these injuries are preventable. Are you and your children properly equipped for the upcoming sports season? As a part of Sports Eye Safety Month, MyEyeDr. has all the information you need to prepare for your next undefeated season. 

Many regulations exist regarding protective sporting equipment, but few involve protective eyewear. By understanding the truth behind common misconceptions, parents can incorporate protective eyewear into their child’s sports routine, providing their athletes the safety measures they need. 

  • Myth: If sport guidelines don’t require it, protective equipment is not needed.
    • Debunked: While shin guards, mouth guards, and other protective equipment are strictly required for most athletes, there is a lack of regulation regarding protective eyewear. In fact, according to Prevent Blindness, only 16.5 percent of children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 reported use of personal protective eyewear in recreational activities. When making the seasonal visit to your local sporting goods store, eye protection should be a must on the shopping list of all athletes. Ensure protective sports eyewear meets impact resistance standards by purchasing from a reputable provider.
  • Myth: Protective eyewear will negatively impact performance.
    • Debunked: Studies show that protective eyewear for athletes does not impact performance. In fact, protective eyewear may help the athlete play better, as it improves depth perception and inspires confidence with added protection. The small hindrances to sight caused by eye protection far outweigh the risk of not wearing it.
  • Myth: Contact sports are the only sports at risk of injury.
    • Debunked: If your child participates in a high-risk sport such as football, rugby, hockey or lacrosse, preparing them for the probable sports collision is a necessity. However, many parents don’t realize that some of the most severe sports-related injuries occur during individual sports and recreational activities, like fishing or archery, due to accidental misuse of equipment.  
  • Myth: Game day is the most important time to ensure your athlete is protected.
    • Debunked: Would you be surprised to learn that most sports-related injuries occur during practice? Inadequate equipment and supervision commonly endanger athletes at a seemingly harmless practice. Equipping your athlete with proper protective gear during all athletic activities will keep their eyes away from harm.

“In order to perform your best during practice and sporting events, your vision needs to at its optimal acuity,” said Dr. Michael Peters, optometrist at MyEyeDr. and author of, ‘See to Play, The Eyes of Elite Athletes.’ “This starts with prevention and taking the appropriate steps to ensure eyes are protected during all recreational activities.”

Finding the right eye protection for your athlete is a crucial play in your playbook. However, an eye exam can provide more insight into conditions that might put athletes at higher risk for eye injury, such as nearsightedness or a family history of issues like retinal detachment, retinal tears or diabetic retinopathy.

To make sure your athlete is properly equipped for their upcoming season and at low risk for eye injury, schedule an annual eye exam and consult with your trusted optometrist.