Importance of Protective Eyewear During Sports

April 5, 2011

Kimberly O’Sullivan
Director, Communications
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
(301) 231-5944 ext. 3019

Importance of Protective Eyewear During Sports

Rockville, MD (April 5, 2011) – Each year in the United States, there are approximately 600,000 documented sports-related eye injuries. Of these, roughly 72% occur in individuals younger than 25 years, and 43% in those younger than 15 years.

April 4-10 has been designated National Public Health Week by the American Public Health Association (APHA). This year’s theme is “Safety is NO Accident: Live Injury-Free.” In support of this important awareness week, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) encourages all individuals, and particularly children, to wear proper eye protection when participating in sports.

 “With extremely high rates of sports related eye injuries, it is important to recognize that these instances are highly preventable. By wearing protective eye gear, athletes of all ages can significantly reduce their chance of injury and promote better safety practices” – Earl L. Smith O.D., Ph.D., President, ASCO

Further, ASCO stands with the APHA in its call for public health measures to positively impact this growing concern. Among those efforts detailed in the APHA’s policy statement – “Promoting the Use of Protective Eyewear for Children in Sports” – are recommendations to enact state legislation across the country that would require eye protection for children playing sports; to encourage health educators and facilitators of sports programs to teach the value of quality fitted sports protective eyewear; to conduct studies on the cost-effectiveness of sports protective eyewear; and the employment of risk management strategies by insurance companies promoting the use of protective eyewear.

“Upwards of 90 percent of sports eye injuries can be prevented through the proper use of protective eyewear,” said Renée Mika, OD, Chair of the Vision Care Section at APHA. “Injuries can range from temporary to permanent vision loss. This is indeed a public health concern that must be addressed.”


The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, represents the 20 Schools and Colleges of Optometry in the United States.