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Protective Eyewear for Sports – A Guide

Eye safety hockey

As we continue to recognize April as Sports Eye Safety month, our experts have an easy-to-follow guide to help you better understand the correct protective eyewear for various sports. From lens type and quality control standards, to the specific eyewear by sport, our ophthalmologists have you covered.

Keep reading for these important insights, as you and your family get out there and start playing!

What sport are you playing?

Unsurprisingly, protective eyewear varies by sport. One thing you need to keep in mind though, regardless of what sport you are playing, is that the contact lenses or glasses you wear for vision correction are not sufficient for eye safety in sports.

Here’s a breakdown of the higher risk sports that we recommend use of protective eyewear when participating:

  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Airsoft and paintball sports (use of airsoft rifles, pellet guns, etc.)
  • Racquetball
  • Hockey

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there are certainly other sports where eye protection is recommended. Consulting with your eye doctor about your unique situation, before beginning any sport, is critical to minimizing eye injuries.

What is the recommended protective eyewear?

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) sets the standards for eye protection, and the thresholds they must meet to prevent eye injuries in sports.

Here is a list of ASTM sports protective eyewear recommendations from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), with links included to the specific eyewear. Below is a breakdown by select higher risk sports:

  • Basketball, Baseball, Softball and Racquetball – ASTM F803 – eye protectors for selected sports
  • Airsoft – ASTM F2879 – eye protectors for airsoft sports
  • Paintball – ASTM F1776 – eye protectors for paintball sports
  • Hockey – ASTM F513 – eye and face protection for hockey

Where can I purchase the appropriate sports eye protection?

We recommend working directly with your eye doctor to ensure you are purchasing the correct protective eyewear. Your doctor can also perform a comprehensive eye exam, in advance of any purchases, to fully understand your unique situation and needs.

While there are many retailers who sell protective eyewear for sports, the best first step you can take is working directly with a professional. Our team at ReFocus Eye Health is happy to answer any questions you may have, and help you get on the right path to ensuring sports safety.

Remember to take care of yourself and your family members this Spring, as you get out there and play! Protecting vision is incredibly important, and our team of world-class ophthalmologists is here to help you along the way.