When you think of sports-related injuries, perhaps concussions, bone fractures, or ankle sprains and pulled muscles come to mind. Unfortunately, injuries to the eye often don’t make the list of concerns, but they should.

    Regular eyeglasses, contact lenses, and sports glasses do not protect the eyes from injury during sports or high risk activities. Instead, you or your child should be wearing safety goggles, shields, or eye guards, the type of which depends on your sport or activity. In fact, when participating in sports, wearing everyday “street wear” eyeglasses (prescription glasses, fashion glasses or sunglasses) may pose greater risk of eye injury than wearing no eye protection at all. Such glasses are not made to sustain impacts and may break causing even greater damage than if you were to wear no eye protection. Your best bet for protecting your eyes during sports is to wear protective glasses, goggles, or eye shields specifically for that sport.


    • 600,000 sports-related eye injuries occur every year.
    • 42,000 sports-related eye injuries require Emergency Room treatment annually.
    • 84% of children wear no eye protection during sports activities.
    • Every season, 1 in 18 college athletes will suffer an eye injury.
    • 1 in 10 basketball players will suffer an eye injury during the average season.
    • Baseball is the number one cause of sports-related eye injuries in youths under 14 years old.


    When selecting eye protection for sports, it is important to note that each sport has its own risks and thus has its own eye protection considerations. The doctors and opticians at Silverstein Eye Centers are also able to provide suggestions for the best eyewear for your sport. Regardless of the sport, look for sports goggles or glasses with polycarbonate lenses as these provide the highest level of protection against impact. Polycarbonate lenses are 10 times more resistant to impact than any other plastic, do not interfere with vision, and may be customized to match your eyeglasses prescription.


    While we aren’t able to list every sport and eye protection combination, the National Eye Institute provides a list of several high risk sports and the ideal corresponding eye protection. We’ve listed some of the most high impact activities and eye protection for you here:

    • Baseball—When batting and base running, select a polycarbonate face guard or certified-safe protection attached to the helmet. When fielding, wear sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses.
    • Basketball—Sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses, and ideally with a strap that fits around the head to hold the goggles against the face.
    • Field hockey—Full face mask for goalies; sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses for all others
    • Football—Polycarbonate shield attached to the helmet for full-contact football; sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses for touch and flag football
    • Handball, Racquetball, and Squash—Sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses
    • Ice hockey and Lacrosse—Helmet with full face protection


    If you have prescription eyeglasses or contacts, most protective eyewear can be made to match your prescription. Your Silverstein Eye Centers optician will match your prescription to your sports protection and suggestion alternative options as necessary.

    Always follow your sport’s rules for protective equipment for the body, the head, and the eyes, and even if your sport doesn’t require eye protection, wear it if it is available. To discuss your sports eye care needs, call Silverstein Eye Centers today at 816-595-3988.

    Posted February 11, 2014 by Silverstein Eye Centers
    Skip to content