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Sport-related eye injuries occur to thousands of adults and children every year. Of course, different types of sports and activities come with different risks. The good news is that you can prevent nearly 90% of serious eye injuries by wearing the appropriate protective eyewear. It’s important enough that the American Academy of Ophthalmology recognized April as Sports Eye Safety Month.[1]

What is protective eyewear?

According to the National Institutes of Health – National Eye Institute (NIH-NEI), protective eyewear includes:

“safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards designed for a particular sport. Ordinary prescription glasses, contact lenses, and sunglasses do not protect against eye injuries. Safety goggles should be worn over them.”[2]

Sports where I should wear eye protection

Some sports require protective equipment, such as batting helmets in baseball, or face-masks in football. But few actually require you to wear protective eyewear. That being said, experts recommend you include protective eyewear in high-risk sports, including the following:[3]

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Racquet sports
  • Ice hockey
  • Lacrosse

Preventblindness.org also has a great Fact Sheet that lists different sports and the type of eye protection you should use, including the kinds of injuries protection may prevent:[4]


Additional resources

Adults: The National Eye Institute has this great Fact Sheet for adults. Click the image for the full fact sheet.


Children: The National Eye Institute has some fun coloring sheets you can print for kids. Click the image to get all the coloring pages.



[1] 2016 EYE HEALTH OBSERVANCES: http://www.aao.org/newsroom/observances


[3] EYE HEALTH IN SPORTS AND RECREATION: http://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/injuries-sports

[4] RECOMMENDED SPORTS EYE PROTECTORS: http://www.preventblindness.org/sites/default/files/national/documents/fact_sheets/Sports_Safety_MK09_0.pdf