Featured In The Sunday Times

Sports eye safety: How to protect your eyes during sports?

Sports eye safety: How to protect your eyes during sports?

Injuries during sports are common. That’s why people take precautions to protect their knees, arms and head from damage when playing sports. But, there are certain sports where your eyes are at a higher risk of damage than any other part of your body.

It’s only recently that the world has realised the importance of protective sports eyewear to prevent eye injuries. Athletes particularly those in swimming or basketball have the risk of developing vision impairments as a result of not wearing proper eye protection on the field.

Even though it’s a big concern, yet the number of athletes using protective eyewear is quite low. Regular eyeglasses can’t protect you against these eye injuries and you need sports glasses.

Why is sports eye safety important?

Sports-related eye injuries are becoming more and more common as people are taking part in sports activities. These injuries are often a result of a racquet or ball accidentally hitting the eye or someone getting poked in the eye.

Thus, sports eye safety is a must even more so for those who have an existing vision problem. This includes people who wear contact lenses or prescription glasses.

The best way to prevent sports-related eye injuries is to wear protective sports eyewear. While this won’t eliminate the risk altogether, it will reduce the risk to a great extent. Your regular glasses or contacts are not competent enough to offer adequate eye protection. Moreover, the glass can shatter and scratch the eye.

But, vision problems or the risk of injuries should not hold you back from enjoying your favourite sport. With the right type of sports eyewear for eye protection, you can ensure optimum safety and comfort.

Common sports-related eye injuries

Eye injuries from sports could be anything between mild and severe. These include corneal abrasions, ionizing radiation exposure and blunt or penetrating injuries.

Blunt injuries

These refer to the sudden compression of the eye at the moment of impact. These are often caused by cricket or tennis balls, elbows, fists and sometimes lead to hyphema (bleeding of the eye). The higher the impact, the more serious the injury will be. It could damage the eye structure resulting in immediate vision loss in certain cases. This is why protective sports eyewear is a must.

Corneal abrasions

Corneal abrasions are the scrapes on the outer surface of your eye which are uncomfortable and painful. This type of injury heal on its own but it’s important to consult an eye expert to get the best medication. Corneal abrasions often occur in basketball when someone accidentally pokes you in the eye.

When you are a sports person, you have to make sure that your vision is always at its best. Apart from using prescription sports eyewear, you also need regular eye tests. But whether you’re an athlete or not, we give a free eye test to everyone in the UK so you always have to latest updates about your eye health.

Penetrating injuries

Penetrating injuries occur when foreign objects get in your eye. If serious, these can cause eye trauma or vision loss. Broken glasses, lenses, debris or coming in contact with other player’s gear could result in a penetrating injury.

Ionizing radiation

Sports eye safety also includes protecting your eyes from UV harm. Radiation injury stems from the prolonged exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun. Athletes involved in water or snow sports have to deal with bright glare from the sun on a daily basis which increases their risk of vision damage.

Chemical burns

Spray paints and powders used to mark the lines on a track or field could get into a player’s eyes and cause irritation or burning sensation in the eye. They’ll also experience excessive tearing until the eye is washed with a saline solution or cool water.

Protective sports eyewear for different sports

Every sport requires different athletic, tactical and technical skill sets. Then why should sports glasses have a “one size fits all” approach?

Different sports need unique eyewear and sports eye safety measure to protect their players from eye injuries and enhance their vision on the field.

Here’s a list of different types of sports and the most appropriate type of eyewear for them.

Raquet sports

Eye injuries are quite common in tennis, squash or badminton where racquets and balls are moving in a small confined area. Polycarbonate sports goggles are perfect for these games. If you have a vision problem, you should go for prescription sports eyewear.

Certain lens tints will improve the contrast of the white tennis ball to help in your game. As these sports are generally played indoors, the anti-glare coating on your glasses will tone down the bright indoor lights and clarify your vision field.

Basketball, volleyball or football

Eye injuries in these sports occur from an accidental finger in the eye. Moreover, the eye can get compressed in case the ball hits it. To protect your peepers, you need sturdy sports glasses with polycarbonate lenses.

Make sure the glasses are shatterproof so they don’t break when a ball hits them. Secure your glasses with a strap so they don’t fall off your face during jumping. If your visual acuity is low, you can also get sports eyewear with a prescription.

A secure fit of the frame is essential no matter if you have regular spectacles or sports glasses. However, with time, these glasses might start fitting you a little loose. If this is happening to you, use a few hacks to prevent your glasses from falling down.


Chlorine mixed in pool water can cause serious damage to your cornea over time. Even after a few hours of swimming in chlorinated pool water could leave your eyes red and irritated. Those who wear contact lenses must remove their lenses before swimming.

The microorganisms in the water can bind to your lenses and increase the risk of vision damage. Rather, use watertight prescription goggles to see underwater and keep chlorine out of your eyes.


Cyclists vision is always bothered by debris and strong winds if they don’t use any gear for sports eye safety. Well, fitted cycling glasses or goggles will amplify your vision on the road while keeping all the distractions away.

From block UV 400, eliminating glare and increasing contrast, cycling glasses do a lot for vision safety on the road. Make sure the frame is a wraparound style so you get the best peripheral vision as well.

Using sports eyewear for eye protection will help reduce these risks. However, if you do suffer an eye injury, consult an ophthalmologist to get the best treatment for your eyes.

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