With the weather getting warmer and the trees beginning to bloom, many people are looking forward to one thing: spring sports. Over the next few months, recreational activities like baseball, tennis, and golf will be going on in hundreds of backyards and public fields and thousands of men, women, and children will no doubt be involved. However, even though participating in spring sports can a fun way to get much-needed exercise, it can also be dangerous to those who fail to take proper precautions. Every year, sports cause more than 40,000 eye injuries, accounting for more than 100,000 physician visits and a cost of more than $175 million. In fact, eye injuries, most commonly from sports-related accidents, are the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States. Fortunately, it is estimated that as many as 90% of these sports related eye injuries could have been prevented simply with the correct use of protective eyewear.
The National Institutes of Health can provide specific guidelines outlining which sports are classified as high, moderate, and low risk for eye injuries, and exactly what forms of eye protection are considered most appropriate for each. In general, suitable eye protection almost always involves the use of polycarbonate lenses. Originally designed for the canopies covering cockpits in fighter planes, this clear, lightweight material is up to ten times more impact-resistant than other plastic or glass lenses and does not distort or obstruct vision. Protective safety goggles and helmet shields can help protect from flying debris, which can get lodged in the eye, or from blunt trauma, which can result in serious eye damage or even a detached retina.
Protective lenses can also help protect against more subtle dangers. Being out in the bright sunlight for even a short time without any eye protection may result in a condition called photokeratitis, a painful inflammation of the cornea similar to a sunburn on the surface of the eye. Although the effects of photokeratitis are only temporary, long-term overexposure to ultraviolet radiation has been linked to the development of certain types of cataracts, and some research suggests it may also play a role in development of macular degeneration. Polycarbonate lenses and shields can be easily treated to provide 100% protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. It is so good at screening out harmful radiation that it is used for astronaut helmet visors and space shuttle windshields.
At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we are dedicated not only to treating any problems in your eyesight that might arise, but also to providing long-term preventative care to help keep your vision clear and sharp throughout your lifetime. That’s why we carry all forms of protective safety goggles in our on-site optical center. We can even customize protective goggles to match an eyeglass prescription so that patients who are nearsighted, farsighted, or who suffer from astigmatism can always perform at their best. If you are interested in learning more about the options available at Georgia Eye, in need of a full comprehensive medical eye exam, or just need a routine eye check to update your glasses or contact lens prescription, our team can help. Please feel free to contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons today to make an appointment, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips for healthy eyes.