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Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month: Tips on buying protective gear

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Chicago — More than 33,000 people were treated for sports-related eye injuries last year in the United States, according to advocacy group Prevent Blindness.

The injuries, which most commonly occurred during water sports and basketball, included infections, corneal abrasions, eye socket fractures, swollen or detached retinas, and traumatic cataracts. A study published in JAMA Ophthalmology in August shows sports-related eye injuries increased 12.8 percent between 2006 and 2014.

Prevent Blindness has designated September as Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month. As part of the initiative, the organization offers tips on buying sports eye protection. Among them:

  • Always consult an eye care professional to get the best eye protection for your sport and lifestyle.
  • If you wear prescription glasses, ask your eye doctor to fit you for prescription eye protection.
  • Sports eye protection should be padded or cushioned along the brow and bridge of the nose. Padding will prevent the eye guards from cutting the skin.
  • Try on eye protection to determine if it is the right size. Adjust the strap and make sure it is not too tight or too loose. Consult your eye care professional to ensure it has a comfortable, safe fit.

“Wearing eye protection should be part of any athlete’s routine, just as putting on equipment like shin guards, gloves or a helmet are,” Prevent Blindness President and CEO Jeff Todd said in a Aug. 21 press release. “Eye accidents happen so quickly, but the effects can be painful and last a lifetime. Consulting an eye care professional can protect healthy eyesight without compromising on performance.”