Sports and Eye Protection

According to a 2015 report by Prevent Blindness of America, over 31,000 sports-related eye injuries requiring costly emergency room care occur annually. The actual number is probably much higher if injuries treated in private physician offices were included. The report shows that the top sports-related eye injuries by sport are Basketball, Water and Pool Activities, Guns and Baseball/Softball.

As sports participation continues to grow and new "extreme sports” gain in popularity, the number of athletes who suffer eye injuries has the potential to grow considerably. School-aged competitors are particularly prone to eye injuries since their athletic skills (hand-eye coordination, balance, reaction time and speed) are still developing. However, under most circumstances, at least 90% of sports-related eye injuries are preventable with the proper use of protective sports eyewear.

The attached Sports-related eye injuries state sheet is based on statistics provided in the 2014 calendar year by Prevent Blindness. 

Sports-Related Eye Injuries by Age

What is protective sports eyewear?
Protective Sports Eyewear are eyeglass frames or goggles designed and manufactured to meet or exceed applicable US impact protection standards. All protective sports eyewear must have polycarbonate lenses designed to withstand impact.

There are two important US standards for protective eyewear:

  • ASTM F803- The American Society for Testing and Materials publishes protective eyewear standards for various sports. F803 is the most strict standard for protective eyewear.
  • ANSI Z87.1- The American National Standards Institute publishes standards for protective eyewear for occupational safety.

Anatomy of protective sports eyewear:

Anatomy of Sports Protective Eyewear