While it is important to protect your joints, arms, legs, and extremities during sports, it’s also important to protect your eyes. The eyes are a complex organ that enables you to see the world around you. Navigating would be difficult if not impossible, without the ability to see. There are many reasons why you should keep your eyes safe in general, but they’re even more crucial while playing sports.
The Importance of Healthy Vision
Your eyes take in visual information from light in order to help you make sense of your surroundings. Even though this information is processed in the brain, you wouldn’t be able to see without your eyes. This organ is made of various parts that work in conjunction to keep your eyes healthy and provide your brain with visual cues from light:
- Conjunctiva: The conjunctiva serves to lubricate the eye and protect it from dust, debris, and microorganisms. A common ailment of the conjunctiva is known as conjunctivitis. It’s caused be either viral infection, bacterial infection, or allergens such as pet dander. Bacterial conjunctivitis is the most damaging to the eye if left untreated.
- Sclera: The sclera is made of small fibrous collagen that serve to maintain the shape of the eyeball. The sclera helps to protect the eye from external trauma such as laceration or rupture. It also serves as an attachment point for the muscles that control eye movement. External trauma to the sclera can often result in retinal detachment (separation of the retina from its connective tissue).
- Cornea: This clear front surface of the eye allows light to pass to the retina and is responsible for approximately 65-75 percent of the eye’s focusing power. Damage to underlying levels of the cornea can cause permanent scars that affect vision.
- Lens: The lens is composed of flexible tissue and is responsible for 25-35 percent of the eye’s focusing power.
- Iris: The iris is composed of connective tissue and muscles that control how much light enters the eye. A common ailment of the iris is synechia. Synechia happens when the iris adheres to the cornea, and can be caused by trauma to the eye.
- Retina: The retina is a sensory membrane that lines the back of the eyeball. It contains specialized cells that gather information from light and transfers it to the visual centers of the brain.
Any injury to one or more of these parts of the eye can have an affect on your vision and quality of life. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to wear protective gear for your eyes while playing sports.
Choosing Protective Eye-Wear
Choosing the right protective gear is just as important as deciding to keep your eyes safe. There are plenty other body parts injured in sports, but the eyes can be an overlooked area. Flying objects, pokes, jabs, or elbows to the eye are something that is best avoided. A racquetball can move between 60 and 200 mph during the average game. With that in mind, it’s best to go for highly durable polycarbonate eye-wear. Most protective eye-wear is made of polycarbonate, which is shatter-proof and offers UV protection. There are also protective coverings fitted to helmets for sports like paint-ball and motocross. Whichever sport you play, there are plenty of options available.
No matter what sport you play, it’s a wise decision to keep your eyes safe. An injury to them can easily cause a loss of vision in one or both eyes. This can dramatically affect your quality of life, so remember, safety first.