Did you know there are an estimated 100,000 sports-related eye injuries every year, with over 13,000 leading to permanent vision damage1? It’s so important to keep your vision protected and safe all year round. April is Sports Eye Safety month and we’d love to show you how easy it can be to make sure your “windows on the world” keep seeing clearly and safely.
If you thought that safety glasses are a thing of recent history, you might be interested to know that protecting one’s eyes goes back—way back. It starts as early as 1200 B.C. in the sport of fencing, according to this AAO article on sports eye protection through history.2 Eye protection didn’t have a noteworthy update until the late 1800s with the baseball catcher’s mask, using a hard mesh to protect rather than a transparent lens.
Lenses and goggles for sport protection only showed up en masse in the 1960s with skiing goggles, allowing clear vision while protecting eyes from sun, wind, and potential projectiles. Fast forward to today, with a wide variety of sport-specific, stylish options.
Preventing eye injuries begins one step before donning safety glasses, with something you might not expect: corrective eyewear. Simply by correcting your vision, you are giving yourself the best chance to see a problem before it happens — whether that’s an incoming ball or a trip-hazard on the ground — and respond appropriately, before any injury occurs. Of course your regular specs (and definitely not your contacts alone!) are not a safety solution for outdoor sports or any high-risk activity. For those, you’ll want to give your eyes the best appropriate gear for the task at hand.
If you already wear contact lenses (or do not correct your vision), it’s simple to get your eyes covered and protected for any activity. Shop around and pick up sport-specific safety glasses in outdoor shops or online retailers. Make sure they fit well and are comfortable enough to almost forget they’re on so you have no problem wearing them every time you play.
For those who wear prescription glasses, you can buy safety shields that fit over your existing glasses. This is a simple solution that doesn’t require purchasing another pair of prescriptions. Is sports a big part of your happiness? Fantastic. You’re a great candidate for a second set of prescription glasses designed for your sport. Whether you choose lightweight running glasses, prescription ski goggles, or tough and durable eyewear for high-impact sports like basketball, you can be sure to get exactly what you need to see clearly and keep your eyes happily protected.
The short answer is “no”. While your prescription glasses and regular sunglasses can offer some protection during daily life, you should use specialized eye protection intended for the chosen sport or high-risk endeavour.
As simple as good eye safety can be, it only works when you are comfortable enough to actually wear your protection. Physically comfortable and socially comfortable, too. Here are some tips to help you normalize taking good care of your vision.
Don’t have a VSP plan yet? No problem. Enroll online today and start by finding the right vision insurance plan for you. It’s time to start anticipating the glow of summer’s rays and the energetics of outdoor adventures. Make sure you are protecting your eyes for unobstructed vision for a healthy year ahead.
This article was reviewed by Dr. Gabriela Olivares from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She shares regular information around eye health on her popular Instagram page.
Information received through VSP Vision Care's social media channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
 AAO. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Eye Health Observances. https://www.aao.org/newsroom/observances (Retrieved March 9, 2021).
 AAO. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Historical Moments in Sports Eye Protection. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/sports-eye-protection-history (Retrieved March 9, 2021).
Article photo features frames from VSP's Dragon Upcycled Collection; Style is DR Finch LL-color 002 Matte Black/LL Smoke.