How to Avoid a Sports-Related Eye Injury

ViteyesEye Health, Nutrition

Over 40,000 sports-related eye injuries happen every year in the United States and 90% of those can be prevented with protective eyewear.

The National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health reports the following:

  • Every 13 minutes, an ER in the U.S. treats a sports-related eye injury.
  • Most eye injuries among kids aged 11 to 13 occur while playing sports.

According to National Eye Institute, baseball is the leading cause of eye injuries in children 14 and under. Along with baseball, softball, tennis, and other racket sports result in the highest rates of eye injuries in outside athletics.

It’s important to know what protective eyewear is right to wear for each sport. With the right gear, you’ll guard your eyes against scratches on the cornea, an inflamed iris, a traumatic cataract, a swollen retina, and blood spilling into the eye’s anterior chamber.

Prevent Blindness recommends the following for protective eyewear:


  • Faceguard made of polycarbonate material
  • Sports eye guards


  • Sports eye guards


  • Polycarbonate shield attached to a face guard
  • Sports eye guards


  • Wire or polycarbonate mask
  • Sports eye guards


  • Sports eye guards

Everyday prescription glasses, contact lenses, and sunglasses are not adequate protection. You’ll still need to wear protective eye gear over those.

You can find protective eyewear at most eye care providers as well as some sporting good stores. Remember, protective eyewear is sport specific. The American Society for Testing and Materials provides standards on the packaging, which makes it easy to determine which gear is best to use.

If you harm your eyes while playing athletics, see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.