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  Sports & Safety Eyewear  

Vision and Sport

The Importance of Wearing Protective Eyewear

Sports are popular activities among many people throughout the world. Whether the participant is a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, the end result is the same – you are playing a sport. However, despite their nature, sports are not all fun and games. There is a serious risk of injury when playing competitively and the eyes are one of the easiest parts of the body to damage- the part most often overlooked when protective equipment is mentioned.

The eyes are vital in all sporting events. Injuries to a player’s eyes occur quite frequently when they don’t take into account the nature of the sport they are playing. A sport such as football might protect the face and eyes among professionals and group enthusiasts but a backyard pick-up game could lead to severe eye trauma if the ball hits them in an unfortunate manner or someone is knocked down and their face lands atop a stick or rock.

The difficulty most have with wearing eyewear while playing sports is that they feel they cannot see as clearly, or that it distracts them. While some individuals that rarely wear eyeglasses might have problems in this regard, the truth is that most individuals that already wear them would be able to adjust easily if they were to go to an eye doctor or similar specialist to have sports specific eyewear prescribed to them.

Whether the eyewear is meant to protect from flying objects or from ultraviolet light they are incredibly useful tools. An example of both protection and sun protection can easily be made with the sport of golf. In golf there are small mobile projectiles being hit with tremendous force. While a solidly performing, skilled, a golfer will rarely have to worry about such things as flying divots and sand getting in the eyes, a beginner might. However, the sun even in the winter can be brutal on the eyes. Without proper sunglasses or similar UV protected eyewear a golfer might end up damaging their eyes over time. At the very least the glare from the sun will affect their performance and might cause them to need more strokes to complete a course than they would otherwise find necessary.

Vision and sport go hand in hand. Light balancing eyewear that removes glare or allows for clearer vision of the field or court can be incredibly beneficial both indoors and outside. When playing basketball indoors at night, the lights can temporarily blind a player if they look up at them at an inopportune time. The same is true for outdoor field lights and the sun during the day.

Whether the sport in question is played on a court, such as basketball and tennis, a field, such as football and soccer, or on the sand like volleyball, the benefits of properly chosen eyewear are quite extensive. Swimmers will perform better with properly glazed prescription goggles than swimmers with generic store bought versions that might not even adhere properly to their facial structure.

While spectacles, goggles, and sunglasses are useful in many sports there are some where these really can be a hindrance or at least unfeasible. Hard contact sports such as football and basketball might find prescription goggles to be useful but in many instances where the likelihood of eye damage from direct contact is minimized the best solution is customized contact lenses. Some players in outdoor sports like soccer, buy specially tinted versions that seem to improve even 20/20 vision. There have been a few stories run on the efficacy of such lenses in improving a player’s performance capacity in many sports.

Choosing the right eyewear for you is going to depend on two separate issues.

The first is choosing eyewear that will protect your eyes and allow you to see properly, and secondly, making sure you choose the right kind of eyewear for the type of sport you desire to play. When attempting to play a sport seriously, a professional eye examination is a necessity. If you require specialised eyewear for sport please tell us the sports you wish to participate in.

The choice of eyewear will be determined by vision and sport. The visual needs of a particular individual might require something more substantial than a pair of contact lenses. Some sports might make wearing anything but contact lenses an exercise in frustration. Full contact sports such as rugby or martial arts, make wearing anything but contact lenses nigh on impossible and may be even more dangerous for your eyes.

The key is to choose the best option for your prescription needs, if any, and the type of sport you are interested in. For any sport that will require physical contact between two or more people there are two ground rules for frames and lenses.

The first rule is that it is far better to purchase eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. Glass lenses should be avoided altogether but if they must be worn then have them laminated or otherwise toughened. Plastic lenses can be used quite well, but as stated previously polycarbonate lenses are preferred.

The second rule is that a clear decision must be made based on your vision and sport related needs. Some sports such as squash will require goggles as the eyewear will need the extra support and the player’s temples and bridge of the nose will need the extra protection. Golf might be played with an ordinary pair of UV protective sunglasses.

In most sports professionally designed and crafted goggles will be the preferred eyewear as this allows maximum eye protection, visual acuity and visibility.

To book an eye examination to find the best possible protective eyewear suited to your needs, please click here.

We are optometrists specialising in eye tests, eye exams, contact lens aftercare and designer eye wear consultaions

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