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Q: Is eye protection really that important for sports?

Posted September 03, 2014 in Advice Column, Johnston

A: Shin guards for soccer, shoulder pads for football and batting helmets for baseball and softball. Almost every sport has its own unique safety equipment, but according to Dr. Matthew Howie, most participants in sports forget to protect one of the most important parts of the body: the eyes.

“Sports are the leading cause of eye injuries in children under 16,” Dr. Howie says. “Most of these could be avoided simply by wearing proper eye protection. These injuries include fracture of the eye socket, scratched corneas, swollen retinas and even cataracts caused by trauma to the eye.”

Parents insisting that their children wear eye protection while participating in sports is the best way to decrease the number of eye injuries during activities, Dr. Howie says. He also says that parents should encourage schools and athletic clubs to adopt a policy that requires participants to wear eye protection.

“September is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month,” Dr. Howie says. “We encourage anyone who participates in sports to remember to outfit the eyes for safety. Today’s protective eyewear is lightweight, comfortable and available with or without vision correction.”

Information provided by Dr. Matthew Howie, O.D., Total Family Eye Care, 1451 S.E. Third St., Suite 400 Grimes, 986-1234,,

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