If you like to watch sports you may have noticed more and more elite athletes, professional athletes and even Olympic athletes share a common “look”. It’s the look of wearing protective eyewear to BOTH avoid eye injuries and optimize their overall performance.
The data and statistics on the need to wear protective eyewear to avoid injuries is compelling. Every day Americans sustain injuries to their eyes, at home, on the job, or during sports activities. Of the 1.6 to 2.4 million individuals who experience eye injuries, an estimated 40,000 will be legally blind in the injured eye. Nearly 90 percent of the injuries are preventable if individuals use proper safety eyewear and take precautions to avoid possible unsafe situations.
Consider these statistics from the National Eye Institute:
· Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the U.S. treats a sports-related eye injury
· More than 100,000 eye injuries in the United States occur each year during sports or recreational activities
· Basketball players age 15 to 24 have a 1 in 10 chance of experiencing an eye injury
· Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States:
o Approximately 27 percent of all eye injuries in children age 11 to 14 are sports-related
o Children under age 15 account for 43 percent of sports and recreational injuries; eye injuries frequently occur when individuals are involved in baseball, ice hockey and racquet sports
o When people participate in outdoor activities in the snow or on the water, ultraviolet light radiation from the sun can damage eyes; repeated exposure to ultraviolet sunlight can lead to problems as individuals age, including the development of cataracts and macular degeneration – the leading causes of vision loss among older Americans
While most sports-related eye injuries are not severe in nature – a scratch from a fingernail during a game or an elbow to the eye resulting in a black eye – it’s important to wear the correct type of protective eyewear to avoid serious eye injuries.