Sports, Hobbies, and Eye Safety
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If you play a lot of sports, or like to work on a hobby, you should be concerned with eye safety and avoiding eye injuries. It doesn't matter if you are a professional athlete, an amateur, or completely uncoordinated on the field: anyone's eyes can be injured during sports, which is why it's so important to wear protective eyewear such as sports goggles or safety goggles. And hobbies such as woodworking and making pottery, as well as household chores such as lawn-mowing, where small particles can become quickly airborne, really do require safety glasses or safety goggles, to keep those flying particles from hitting your eyes.
Speaking of airborne objects, there was a case recently where a spectator at a baseball game said he suffered a retinal detachment because of a hot dog that was thrown at him by the Kansas City Royals team mascot. So maybe the fan should have been wearing safety goggles as well!
Here we've compiled some tips for helping you enjoy your sports activities, hobbies and work around the house and garden, without risking a serious eye injury that can cause major eye pain or even impair or ruin your vision, whether temporarily or for the rest of your life.
- Wear sports goggles when you play. You may feel like they're unwieldy, geeky, or uncomfortable, but the next time you're shopping at a sporting goods store, take a good look at what's available before you make any judgments. Sports goggles have come a long way in the past few years, and many look pretty cool. One of the biggest and most reputable brands is Rec-Specs, which are made by Liberty Optical. They make impact-resistant sports goggles, ski goggles, swim goggles, dive masks, sunglasses, and even helmets, for people of all ages, ranging from young children to ancient adults.
Some of the Rec-Specs sports goggles have regular temple arms, just like regular eyeglasses or safety glasses. Others have stretchy fabric straps, to hold the eyewear in place on the head, even during rough play. They come in all kinds of colors, to match your team jersey or whatever you like to wear during sports. Some are large, for extra protection against eye injuries, while other models are smaller, for a more streamlined look.
When you wear protective eyewear during your games, you'll be setting an example for your kids and teaching them how important that eye safety is. So don't hesitate, and don't grumble about it.
- Wear safety goggles when you work in the yard or with tools in the shop. You should be wearing them while mowing your lawn, using a weed-eater, digging in the ground, clipping hedges, and even raking leaves. You should also wear safety goggles when sawing, hammering, using a drill, and chopping wood. It's even a good idea to use goggles when you light a grill or deep-fry or saute food in the kitchen. Getting hot grease or boiling food in your eye will cause major eye pain, and it's actually amazing that so many chefs don't wear safety glasses. In fact, hospital personnel wear them as a matter of course in emergency rooms and operating rooms, to make sure that the eyes are not exposed to contagious bodily fluids.
If you normally wear prescription eyeglasses, then you should consider getting a pair of prescription safety glasses as well. They are much more protective than regular glasses, because they are made to a higher standard of durability and impact-resistance. They can also be specially tinted to protect your eyes against bright light exposure, such as when you're welding or working in construction or landscaping outdoors.
- Invest in shooting glasses made with polycarbonate or Trivex lenses, if you like to shoot trap or skeet. Not only will they protect against eye injuries from the impact of a gun's recoil, with a special amber lens tint they will help you to see your target better, whether it's a paper target across a field or a clay target flying up in the air. Shooting glasses with amber lenses are designed to reduce glare and increase the contrast between your target and surrounding objects, such as leaves, twigs, rocks, grass, and sky.
As with prescription safety glasses, you can also get shooting glasses in prescription form as well. If you shoot a lot, this might be worthwhile, since your aiming is likely to be more accurate than if you're wearing the type of shooting glasses that fit over your regular glasses. With one lens on top of another, glare and ghosting could be an issue, depending on the lighting. Also, you might want your prescription shooting glasses to have a slightly stronger distance vision prescription in them, since you're using them more for distance vision, than in the regular eyeglasses that you wear all day for multiple purposes ranging from reading to seeing far away.
- Don't just wear sunglasses when you ski or snowboard; wear good-quality ski goggles instead. Ski goggles will protect the upper part of your face from cold air and protect your eyes from dryness caused by the cold temperatures and wind on the slopes. Also, they will help prevent an eye injury if you fall, and when you're hurling yourself down a mountain, there's always a good chance of falling, right?
You will want your ski goggles to fit comfortably and to be helmet-compatible, since practically everyone is wearing a helmet these days while skiing or boarding. Usually this means that they have an extra-long strap, with two adjustment rings that will be positioned on either side of the snap or other fastener that holds the strap in place on the helmet.
It's also very important to choose ski goggles that have an excellent anti-fogging system, whether it's specially treated lenses or lenses that are vented with holes. You can also use anti-fog sprays, or handy anti-fog cloths that come in portable packets to take with you on the mountain.
Again, as with prescription safety glasses and shooting glasses, you can also get ski goggles with prescription lenses, too. Usually these are in the form of prescription inserts that are placed inside the goggle. If you prefer, you can get goggles that fit over your eyeglasses, but you may have fogging issues and it may not be as comfortable. Plus, if you fall a lot while skiing or boarding, you may be risking a lot of eye pain if you fall on your goggles and your eyeglasses become jammed up against your eyes. Give it some thought, and talk it over with an optician or eye doctor before making a significant investment either way.
We hope these eye safety tips will help you to enjoy your sports, hobbies and home chores more, plus keep your eyes and those of your family healthy and happy!
For more information about eyewear and eye care, visit AllAboutVision.com.