The common sports eye injuries can be prevented by choosing the correct sunglasses. Furthermore, sunglasses can even enhance your performance during certain outdoor sports and activities.
Sunglasses as Protection from Physical Injury
A policy issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) on Protective Eyewear for Young Athletes states:
- More than 42,000 sports and recreation-related eye injuries are reported each year in the United States. (And there may be many more eye injuries than this, as many go unreported.)
- More than 70 percent of these eye injuries occur in people under 25, roughly 40 percent occur in people under 15 and eight percent occur in children under 5.
- Baseball and basketball are associated with the most eye injuries among players ages 5 to 24.
- Proper-fitting sports eyewear can reduce the risk of serious sports-related eye injuries by 90 percent.
Sunglasses Improve Visibility
Sunglasses improve visibility by removing a harsh glare or bright light. Ordinary sunglass lenses reduce the amount of visible light entering the eye, but they do not block or eliminate glare. Glare occurs when light enters the earth’s atmosphere and hits a reflective surface such as water, snow, pavement, sand and other nonmetallic surfaces; it becomes aligned, partially polarized and concentrated.
Even though you are looking forward, glare coming from different angles obstructs your vision, causing you to squint. This constant squinting of your eyes and annoyance of the glare creates eye fatigue, headaches and general discomfort from prolonged exposure to glare. A Polarized lens blocks and eliminates this glare, allowing you to view the world and its surroundings in comfort. You’ll be able to see potential obstacles and clearly maneuver yourself while engaging in physical activities.
Sunglasses Protect Against UV Damage
UV damage to the eyes is irreversible. Children and teens are especially susceptible to this damage as 80% of UV damage occurs under the age of 18. The damage done to the eyes as a child or teen can lead to future problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, cancer of the eye, or photokeratitis (sunburn of the retina). The only way to properly protect your eyes while outdoors is to wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. Protecting your eyes as a child will pay off later in life as UV light damage is one of the leading causes of vision loss among older Americans.
Resources on Sports Sunglasses for Protection