Sports Eye Safety: Preventing Sports-Related Eye Injuries

October’s Focus Is on Eye Safety


As the weather grows warmer, you might be gearing up to play some of your favorite outdoor sports.

There are several important things you should know before you start swinging a pickleball racket or dribbling a basketball. There are many sports-related eye injuries in the US. In fact, there is an eye injury treated by an emergency room every 13 minutes.

Preventing Sports-Related Eye Injuries

VSP network eye doctor Keith Smithson, OD, who specializes in sports vision, shares the importance of clear vision for athletes.

“A lot of players get or cause eye injuries not because of mishap on the court, but rather because they have undetected or uncorrected vision issues like poor depth perception,” said Dr. Smithson.

Clear vision directly correlates with an athlete’s performance, and if they cannot see clearly, their performance will suffer. Poor vision can lead to accidents such as tripping and falling, as well as misjudging how far away an object is.

Proper Eye Protection Is Key

It’s also important that your eyes are properly protected from the sun and its UV rays while outside. Wearing sports safety glasses can also help you avoid getting debris particles in your eyes when sliding into home base or biking up that hill.

Dr. Smithson noted that coaches aren’t always educated on the proper protective eyewear for each sport. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely solely on them to suggest the best equipment.

Your VSP network eye doctor can help make sure you have the protective eyewear you need to perform on and off the field. Outside of a consultation, getting an annual eye exam is also crucial before an injury occurs.

“Don’t wait until you experience an eye injury to go to the eye doctor,” said Dr. Smithson. “An eye exam can give eye doctors a baseline of your vision to measure up against if you do happen to get injured, including concussions. Otherwise, it can be hard to determine what typically is ‘normal’ for your vision.”

No matter how you choose to stay active, make sure your eyes are protected. Shop the latest performance eyewear for your favorite outdoor sports.