FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For more information:

Prevent Blindness Ohio
Stacie Lehman
Phone: 800-301-2020 ext. 119
E-mail: [email protected]


- Selecting the Right Sports Eye Protection Today can Keep Eyes Healthy in the Future -



Columbus, OH(September 4, 2013) Every year, close to 6,000 Americans suffer an eye injury related to playing basketball, according to estimates by Prevent Blindness Ohio and  Prevent Blindness America. In fact, The Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuriesreports that 1 in 10 college basketball players will sustain an eye injury.


In addition, eye injuries from water sports and activities were the second most-reported sports-related eye injury. These include swimming, surfing, scuba diving, and water skiing/tubing. The use of guns, including air, gas, spring, and BB, caused the most eye injuries in those ages 14 and younger. 


Eye injuries from any sport can include infection, corneal abrasions, blunt trauma, inflamed iris, fracture of the eye socket, swollen or detached retinas or even a traumatic cataract.  And in some cases, a significant eye injury can cause permanent vision loss. 


Because most eye injuries can be avoided by wearing proper eye protection, Prevent Blindness Ohio has dedicated September as Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month to educate the public on the best ways to keep eyes safe to stay in the game. The group has put together guidelines to help consumers find the best eye protection including:

  • Those who wear prescription glasses should ask their eye doctor to be fitted with prescription eye protection.
  • Monocular athletes (those with only one eye that sees well), should consult with an eye doctor to determine which sports are safe to participate in. Monocular athletes should always wear sports eye protection.
  • Sports protective eyewear should be labeled as ASTM F803 approved. Check the packaging to ensure that the eye protector selected has been tested for sports use.
  • Make sure the lenses either stay in place or pop outward in the event of an accident. Lenses that pop in against the eyes can be very dangerous.
  • Fogging of the lenses can be a problem. Some types of protective eyewear are available with anti-fog coating. Others have side vents for additional ventilation. Try on different types to determine which is most comfortable.
  • Sports eye protection should be padded or cushioned along the brow and bridge of the nose. Padding will prevent the eye protection from cutting the skin.
  • Try on the eye protector to determine if it's the right size before purchasing. Adjust the strap and make sure it's not too tight or too loose.
  • All athletes should get an eye exam from an eye care professional. An expert may be able to detect a vision problem and improve performance in addition to saving sight later in life.

As part of the Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month initiatives, Prevent Blindness Ohio and Prevent Blindness America have also joined with The Coalition to Prevent Sports Eye Injuries and Liberty Sport to provide eye care professionals with free information and materials through the “September is Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month” campaign.


“An eye injury can happen in a moment but have an effect that lasts a lifetime,” Sherry Williams, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness Ohio.  “We encourage adults and children to take steps today to find the right sports eye protection to protect their vision and consistently make their eye safety a priority every time they enter the game.”


For more informationon sports eye injury prevention and information on sport-specific eye protection recommendations, please call Prevent Blindness Ohio at (800) 301-2020, or visit For more information about Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month or to request a kit, please contact John Minnick, Liberty Sport at 973-882-0986, ext. 977 or [email protected].


About Prevent Blindness Ohio

Prevent Blindness Ohio, founded in 1957, is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to prevent blindness and preserve sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. Prevent Blindness Ohio is an affiliate of Prevent Blindness America, the country’s second-oldest national voluntary health organization. For more information or to make a donation call 800-301-2020 or visit us on the web at





  • Approximately 25 percent of the estimated 2.4 million eye injuries that occur in the United States each year happen during sports and recreational activities.
  • According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), sports-related eye injuries cost $175-200 million every year.
  • Basketball is the leading cause of eye injuries, followed by water/pool activities and use of guns (air, gas, spring, BB).
  • Using the right kind of eye protection while playing sports can help prevent serious eye injuries and even blindness. The fact is that 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable.
  • Sports eye protection comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Eye gear designed for use in racquet sports is now commonly used for basketball and soccer and in combination with helmets in football, hockey and baseball. The eye gear you choose should fit securely and comfortably and allow the use of a helmet if necessary.
  • For sports use, polycarbonate lenses must be used with protectors that meet or exceed the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Each sport has a specific ASTM code, so look for the ASTM label on the product before making a purchase.
  • According to Liberty Sport, two important U.S. standards are:
  • ASTM F803- F803 is the strictest standard for protective eyewear.
  • ANSI Z87.1- The American National Standards Institute publishes standards for protective eyewear for occupational safety.
  • There is no evidence that wearing eye protection hampers athletic performance.
  • From the “Gear Up”program from the National Eye Institute and NEHEP:
  • Eye injuries are a leading cause of blindness in children.1*
  • Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury.2*
  • Most eye injuries among kids aged 11 to 14 occur while playing sports.3*
  • Each year in the United States, more than 100,000 eye injuries are estimated to be sports-related.4*
  • More than 42,000 of these sports-related eye injuries require a visit to an emergency room.5*
  • One-third of sports-related eye injuries involve children.6*


1 Harrison, A., & Telander, D.G. (2002). Eye Injuries in the youth athlete: a case-based approach. Sports Medicine, 31(1), 33-40. 2U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (2000). Sports and recreational eye injuries. Washington, DC: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 3American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Eye Health and Public Information Task Force. (2004). Protective eyewear for young athletes. Ophthalmology, 111(3), 600-603. 4Napier, S.M., Baker, R.S., Sanford, D.G., & Easterbrook, M. (1996). Eye injuries in athletics and recreation. Survey of Ophthalmology, 41(3), 229-244. 5Berman, P. (2006). Why do we need to decrease sports-related eye injuries? PowerPoint presentation at the Sports Eye Injury Meeting, June 1-2, Bethesda, MD.  



  • The most common types of sports-related eye injuries are (from the American Academy of Family Physicians):


Blunt trauma:occurs when something hits you in the eye. Blunt trauma causes most sports-related eye injuries. Some serious examples are an orbital blowout fracture (a broken bone under the eyeball), a ruptured globe (broken eyeball) and a detached retina (the part of the eye that is sensitive to light and helps you see). Bruising of the eye and eyelid (a "black eye") looks bad but usually is a less serious injury.

Penetrating injury:occurs when something cuts into your eye. These injuries are not very common. You can get a penetrating injury if your eyeglasses break while you are wearing them or if another person's finger scratches you in the eye. Injuries range from mild to deep cuts. Fishing hooks can cause penetrating eye injuries.

Radiation injury: caused by exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. These injuries are most common in sports such as snow skiing, water skiing and other water sports.


As part of its Children’s Sports Eye Safety Position Statement,Prevent Blindness America makes these recommendations:


1. School and youth athletic league programs must educate children, coaches, and parents about the importance of wearing appropriate sports eye protection.

2. Appropriate protective eyewear for sports should be chosen only after consultation from an eye doctor, physician, or athletic trainer and must be appropriate for the particular sport and the child's size.

3. Children and adolescents should only wear sports eye protectors that meet the standards set forth by ASTM and ANSI.

4. State legislators should adopt legislation requiring the use of protective eyewear among children of any age when participating in medium to high-risk sports through school, youth league and collegiate athletic programs.

5. Protective eyewear should be mandatory for athletes who are functionally one-eyed.

6. Sports eyewear that does not conform to the standards outlined by ASTM and ANSI should be banned by school, community and collegiate sport programs.

7. Funding should be made available to help school, community-based and organized athletic programs pay for sports eye protectors for children who cannot afford them.