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Play It Safe

Big Trouble for a Little Leaguer

Aaron was incredibly excited for his very first little league game: The Royals versus The Gators. Aaron stood, daydreaming of victory, in the outfield of his very last practice before the game. He could have sworn he already heard the crowd going wild as The Royals scored the game winning homerun.

What he actually heard was his teammates yelling at him, “Watch out!”

Aaron looked up just in time to see the baseball as it collided with his face. He fell backwards, dazed by the sudden impact, and lay in the grass as his team, the coach, and his father came rushing towards him.

“Are you okay, buddy?” Dad asked as he scooped him out of the grass. By this time Aaron was crying and most certainly not okay.  

“My eye hurts, Daddy,” he squeaked. “The baseball hit my eye.”

“You’re okay, let Daddy see,” Dad said. “Oh okay, okay, we’re going to go see the doctor.” Aaron had only been able to open his eyelid a couple of millimeters, but what his father saw beneath the slow building bruise was enough for him to drive 15 mph over the speed limit to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

Luckily, the force of the ball wasn't great enough to break any of the delicate bones of Aaron's face, and he wasn’t seriously injured. There is a way, though, to make sure that emergency room visits aren't a necessity when playing sports. If Aaron had been wearing the proper type of protective sports eyewear, his injury could have been avoided, or at the very least, greatly decreased in severity.

How can we protect our kids and ourselves? 

Protective sports eyewear might seem like overkill to some, but it is an absolute necessity to eliminate the risk of unintentional injury in children who play contact and non-contact sports. According to Prevent Blindness America, over 40,000 sports related eye injuries are treated each year in emergency rooms across the United States. These eye injuries are all preventable with the proper type of protection.

Sports eyewear not only protects the wearer from accidental injury due to flying objects, i.e. basketballs, baseballs, etc, but also from jabs and pokes from fingers and elbows. In close contact sports, such as basketball or wrestling, unintended trauma to the eyes can occur simply because of the limited awareness children have of their surroundings. Sports goggles can also protect from dust and other elemental debris, and can aid in reducing the strain put on eyes by the harmful UV rays of the sun. Goggles are able to sharpen vision by reducing glare and enhancing contrast on the field to give the player an advantage.

Coaches and parents are beginning to recognize that wearing sports eyewear is as important as a helmet would be for riding a bike. The benefits of purchasing sports goggles for yourself, or any aspiring child athlete, greatly outweigh the initial cost, and the peace of mind they offer to a parent is unbridled.

Tips for Selecting Proper Sports Eyewear

  • Buy something that fits today - For protective sports eyewear, it is crucial to select a frame that fits properly right now. Although it is tempting to buy something that your little tike can “grow into”, buying sports goggles that are too big is counterproductive, and can actually increase the risk of a serious injury if something comes in contact with them.

  • Consider the sport - Where do your matches take place; outside or indoors? Are there lights that create glare? Does the sun inhibit your vision during the game? These are all questions to that can help us determine what style of protective eyewear can best help you! By giving honest answers, the optician can create a unique lens design that can enhance your performance.

  • Think about getting tinted lenses - Some tints can enhance contrast during your game! Ask an optician if a tinted lens would benefit you.

  • Don’t assume your helmet will protect your eyes - There are sport eyewear styles that can fit inside helmets and protect your eyes.

  • You can get sports eyewear without having a need for glasses - Most sports eyewear can accommodate both prescription and non-prescription lenses, but we always recommend visiting Dr. Pulsfus to make sure you’re seeing the best you can!

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