How Can You Protect Your Eyes During Sports And Leisure Activities?

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Did you know that sports are now the largest reason behind serious eye injuries in the United Kingdom? Sport and leisure activities are a vital part of the culture here: a recent report by Kantar Group showed that two in five Europeans exercise or play sport at least once a week. With the return of recreational sport imminent and many young sports athletes gearing up to resume play, many of them will be preparing to give their best to the game and minimise their injuries. Each sport has its protective gear to keep your body safe during practice. When it comes to protecting your eyesight, there are a few tips that can help you take care of your eyes this winter and keep your eye on the ball.

Find Out If You Need Eye Protection

Wearing the right protective body gear like protective pads and helmets when playing contact sports is important. The same premise goes for your eyes. While racquet sports are great for your health, some forms, like badminton and squash, also pose a great danger to your eyes thanks to the high speed the ball can travel at during games. So before you play, check out what eye protection you should be wearing. For instance, in badminton experts recommend wearing shatterproof protective goggles while playing. 

Swap To Contact Lenses For Contact Sports

If you wear prescription eyewear, you may be worried about having clear vision when playing sport. To protect yourself and have better vision, swap to contact lenses for those times you are playing. Contact lenses come with many advantages, including improved vision and ease of use, and can correct most vision issues. They are also a great vision correction alternative for leisure sports like surfing or swimming, where it is impractical to wear prescription glasses but you need great vision. While some advise against wearing contact lenses during surfing, many of the leading female athletes riding the waves like Mercedes Maidana have experienced serious surfboard related eye injuries. Once a world-leading female surfer, Maidana experienced the perils of big wave surfing and a serious eye injury that obstructed her vision. 

Other athletes also run the risk of pterygium (surfers eye) if they do not protect their eyes adequately. If you do use contact lenses during water sports, opting for daily lenses and removing them after your activity is the best practice to minimise the risk of eye abrasions or injuries. However, if you are not comfortable with contact lenses, you may want to speak to your optometrist about whether laser eye surgery is right for you. Clear and excellent vision allows you to respond promptly during the game and reduce your chances of eye injuries. Also, invest in some good quality sunglasses. Excessive UV exposure has been linked to photokeratitis, cataracts and pterygium.

Keep Up With Your Eye Health With Regular Dilated Eye Exams And A Full Family History

Having regular eye exams is a must for everyone, even if you are not an avid sportsperson. According to the NHS, it is recommended that everyone gets an eye test every two years. This helps your optician spot potential problems quite early on, and reduces the impact it can have on your life and enjoyment of sports. 

You should also become familiar with your family history so that you can be proactive about your eye health. If there is a history of eye disease in your family, you may be more at risk of developing it yourself. You want your vision to be its best when you’re playing so that you can spot and avoid any potential injuries. 

Good eye health should be a priority for everyone, whether you play leisure sports or not. So whether you are a seasoned professional raring to get back to surfing the waves or someone who wants to get active and fit on a squash court, these simple tips can help you protect your eyes and your vision.

Author: Sara Major

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