Baseball is a favorite springtime sport for many children and adults. When that sunshine hits the grass and a crisp spring breeze is in the air, baseball enthusiasts gather their bats, helmets, and gloves and hit the field. Unfortunately, too many people forget to pack one of the most important pieces of safety gear – eye protection.
According to the National Eye Institute, baseball is one of the leading causes of eye injuries among children up to age 14. In fact, sport-related eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness for children and require an estimated 100,000 emergency room visits each year. Children aren’t the only ones who can experience the devastating effects of a baseball or a bat to the eye. Many adults, including major league players, have suffered serious eye injuries from a fly ball or rogue bat.
The sad reality is that 90% of these injuries could be prevented with protective eyewear. However, in most minor or major leagues, eyewear is not required. Before you take the field, use these five tips to protect your eyes:
If you wear prescription glasses or contacts, as your doctor about prescription sports eyewear. There are certified baseball helmets with attached safety glasses for batters and runners, as well as options for field players.
Make sure that your eyewear meets American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety standards.
Check that your prescription sports eyewear is made from polycarbonate material. This material resists shattering and provides UV protection. Polycarbonate material weakens with age, so if the lenses have turned yellow, it’s time to replace them.
Goggles provide the best eye protection but may not fit all face shapes. If you find goggles are too loose, the best option is to purchase certified sports glasses with 3-millimeter-thick polycarbonate lenses.
If you have vision loss in one eye, always wear the protective eyewear recommended by your doctor to protect your remaining vision.