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Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month – April 2023

Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month is observed in April each year. Do you know that eye protection in the sport of fencing has been practiced thousands of years ago in Egypt? Eye protection equipment has been used in a variety of other sports for many years. Its significance has been demonstrated repeatedly by the high number of sports-related eye injuries brought to hospitals and the consequences for victims.

History of Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month

For some, wearing eyewear while participating in sports is a tradition that dates back over a century. Some people believe that wearing eyewear while participating in sports is unnecessary. Perhaps the latter group hasn’t seen how terrible a bat to the eye in a hockey game can be, or how painful a ball to the eye in baseball can be. Nonetheless, eyewear has been in use even in ancient Egypt. Around 1200 B.C., fencers in Egypt wore masks to protect themselves. Although these masks have undergone several modifications over the centuries, their purpose remains to protect the invaluable eyes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has designated April as the month for raising awareness on using eye protection during sports. One of its main pieces of advice is for players of high-risk sports to wear eye protection gear — to reduce the souring number of sports-related eye injuries in the U.S.

Sports-related eye injuries can be highly detrimental to players and their careers. In 1957, baseball pitcher— Herb Score — suffered an injury to his retina and even though he recovered three weeks after the incident, he was never the same formidable pitcher he was known to be. In 1967, Tony Conigliaro — also a baseball player — suffered a retina injury on-field and despite returning to the sport two years after, his career took a downturn. The famous basketball player, Abdul-Jabbar saw the need for using eye protection after having incurred scratches to his cornea and began to wear one in 1968. In 2004, Steve Yzerman would have done otherwise if he had known that not wearing his face shield would send him to the surgery room for corneal abrasion and orbital fracture. His injury consequently advanced the push for the mandatory use of visors in hockey.

Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month timeline

1200 B.C.
Oldest Record of Eye-Protection Gear

Fencers in the olden days wear protective masks.

1968
Use of Goggles by Basketball Players

Famous N.B.A. players start to wear protective goggles.

1973
Wearing of Visors by Hockey Players

Greg Neeld starts to wear a helmet visor after losing his left eye.

2012
Squash Body Enforces Wearing of Protective Eyewears

The Squash Governing Body enforces the wearing of protective eyewear by hardball and softball squash players.

Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month FAQs

What sport has the most eye injuries?

Research has shown that in the U.S., most sports eye injuries are incurred in basketball and baseball games.

Which sports are at low risk for eye injury?

Non-contact sports that do not involve balls or sticks have lower risks of causing eye injuries. Track events for example rarely lead to eye injuries.

What type of eye protection should you look for when playing sport?

Any eyewear that will not impede your vision or cause you unnecessary discomfort can serve the purpose. Special eye goggles and helmet visors have been widely used for most sports as eyewear.

How to Observe Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month

  1. Wear protective eyewear during sports activities

    Whether you are playing football, hockey, basketball, or training to swim, put on that protection eyewear around your eyes. You’ll thank us later!

  2. Enlighten others about eye safety in sports

    Seen a group of young basketball players? Maybe some old squash players? Walk over to them and tell them about eye safety in all sports activities.

  3. Book an appointment with an ophthalmologist

    Call on that nearby ophthalmologist, or for those of you who can afford it, visit a renowned eye doctor and get informed about the health of your eyes. Better safe than sorry!

5 Facts About The Eye That Will Interest You

  1. Almost as complex as the brain

    The eye is the second most complex organ aside from the brain.

  2. Fastest muscle in the body

    Blinking the eyes is an extremely fast action that happens instantaneously because of the eyes' muscles.

  3. Most common eye color

    Brown remains the world's most common eye color.

  4. First blue-eyed person

    The first person with a blue eye color is said to have lived several millennia back.

  5. Generational linkage for blue-eyed persons

    Each blue-eyed person is said to share a common ancestry with every other blue-eyed person in the world.

Why Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month is Important

  1. The eye is priceless

    Whether you want to walk, run, hit something, or jump, the eye plays a key role. Good sight equals good direction.

  2. Safety in all things is vital

    In all things we do, safety should be our watchword. Being safe keeps us fit and allows us to perform better.

  3. It draws attention

    Sports-related activities can result in eye injuries, which are a common cause of blindness. This day draws awareness to the fact that some eye injuries are serious and can result in blindness. Individuals are reminded that protecting their eyes from elbows, flying objects, and other weather-related and environmental threats is as simple as wearing protective eyewear.

Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
2023April 1Saturday
2024April 1Monday
2025April 1Tuesday
2026April 1Wednesday
2027April 1Thursday
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