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How and Why You should Protect Your Eyes While Playing Sports

Sports, especially those that require you to get all up and personal with people or inanimate objects, can be quite dangerous at times. Especially for those brittle bones found in the fingers, and the soft tissue and sensitive parts, like the eyes. There is no arguing over the fact that you need to keep your eyes safe at all times while playing sports, because you don’t want to risk a potentially crippling injury just because you weren’t wearing safety googles at a racquetball match.

But just because sports can be dangerous at times doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t maintain an active lifestyle, after all, physical activity does keep you healthy inside and out. Instead, you need to learn how to keep your eyes safe, when to visit your doctor, and what to do if an unexpected tennis ball, or finger, gets in your eye.

The basics of eye protection

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So first things first, what are the basics of eye protection you should always adhere to? For one, it would be ideal if you would wear eye protection no matter the sport. Unless you’re training all by yourself, say in a controlled gym environment where there is little risk of injuring your eyes, you should wear the proper protective gear designed specifically for the sport.

Don’t think that any type of eye protection will work for every type of sport, as there is a big difference between protecting your eyes at a Krav Maga class, and protecting your eyesight during volleyball. And secondly, keep your hands up. The best way to protect your eyes is to improve your reflexes and intercept the trajectory of whatever is flying towards your face with your bare hands. Use these same reflexes to bob and weave your head in order to evade the object.

Choosing the right protective gear

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As we’ve mentioned earlier, protective gear comes in many shapes and sizes, and it’s usually designed with a specific sport in mind. Sure, you could get away with a wrong pair of goggles for a little while, but at one point or another, a wayward finger is going to slip through the cracks and poke you right in the eye. It might not be a big thing, but it might as well injure you, so don’t risk it.

Instead, you need to choose the right gear to protect your eyes according to the nature of the sport. For example, if you like to punch other people, you should not wear goggles, but a face guard. A face mask will ensure nothing gets past the protective layer. On the other hand, a face guard might put you at a disadvantage if you’re playing group sports, such as basketball where you need to have an unobstructed line of sight at all times. With that in mind, be sure to wear goggles instead.

Check your eyesight and consult your ophthalmologist

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There are many reasons why you would want to pay a visit to your ophthalmologist on a regular basis. For one, eyesight tends to deteriorate over time due to a not-so-popular phenomenon we call aging. Getting a regular eye test will ensure your get the right diagnosis and treatment to preserve your eyesight over the years, and even improve it if need be.

But beyond health and longevity, active individuals should, in particular, get their eyes checked regularly, especially if you suffered an injury while playing sports. Sometimes, the injury might not even be apparent until you start feeling the symptoms a day or two later. Whatever the case may be, you need to visit your eye doctor if you’re feeling any discomfort or inflammation, and most importantly, if you’ve suffered any type of physical trauma in that region.

Sports that require proper eye protection

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In case you’re on the fence on whether or not you should wear eye protection, or if you don’t want to show up to training looking like a complete dunce, you should check if your particular sport requires you to protect your eyes at all. Here’s the criteria you should follow, instead of an arbitrary list of sports, so that you can make the right decision every time:

  • Are you required to make physical contact with other people?
  • Are you required to make physical contact with a ball?
  • Are the people friendly or are they trying to inflict pain upon your weary body?
  • Is the ball big or small, heavy or light?
  • Does the ball usually travel at or above eye height?

(source: Unsplash)

Simply run through this checklist every time you’re thinking of picking up a new sport, and you should have no problem determining whether or not it would be a wise idea to put a protective piece of plastic over your eyes. Hint: it usually is.

Final thoughts

Playing sports can be dangerous at times, however, the level of risk will greatly depend on factors that are well beyond your control. So don’t skip the activity altogether, but instead follow these tips in order to protect your eyesight, and preserve a perfectly healthy pair of deep blues for years to come.

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