It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. If you’ve never suffered an eye injury, that statement probably sounds like an old adage repeated by old people. Unfortunately, statistics say otherwise.
Let us hit you with the fast facts on sports-related injuries:
- Every year in the United States, more than 600,000 eye injuries occur due to sports and recreational-related accidents.
- Of those injuries, about 42,000 of them require emergency room care. That’s right, out of the game and headed to the hospital.
- Of emergency room injuries, about 13,500 result in permanent vision loss. You read that right. Total. Permanent. Vision loss.
The old adage? It’s more of an old omen. Fail to protect your eyes, and you could quite literally lose your ability to see.
Luckily, you’ve got the team at Stoggles to help you understand the importance of eye safety, and to help you find the very best sports safety glasses to keep your eyes protected and help you avoid becoming an eye-injury statistic.
We’ll tell you about how vision works and why it’s astonishingly easy to lose your vision if your eyes aren’t protected. We’ll also give you all the specs you need to shop for the very best safety eyewear to keep your eyes protected while enjoying your favorite sports and pastimes.
The Delicate Eye
Your eyes, to maintain their functionality, aren’t protected by much. The orbital sockets contain delicate bones that hold your eyes in place. The eyebrows, eyelashes, and eyelids work to keep particles of dust and debris from entering your eyeballs. The sclera, the part that creates the whites of your eyes, is a thicker, fibrous tissue that protects the insides of your eyes.
Unlike other organs like your heart or lungs, which are encased in your protective, bony rib cage under layers of muscle and other tissue, your eyes are really vulnerable. They’re also really damageable.
How Vision Works
Let’s get a little scientific so that we can better understand the process of vision and how fragile it truly is.
The structures of the eye are advanced and work like an incredibly high-powered camera. Light enters through the cornea. The pupil and iris control how much light is allowed in, and help focus it onto the lens, a structure that sits behind the colored portion of your eye.
The lens takes this focused light and sends it to the back of the eye, where the retina is located. The retina is home to specialized retinal cells. It’s also home to the macula, a structure responsible for fine, detailed vision.
Retinal cells have the superpower of being able to convert light to electrical signals. It then sends these electrical signals to the optic nerve, which carries them to the brain to be interpreted as the images in front of us.
All of this happens in milliseconds but not in zeptoseconds — the shortest measurement of time. (File that in the useless trivia folder of your brain).
Why Retinal Cells Matter
Retinal cells are kind of a big deal in the most Ron Burgundy sense of the term. The reason? They’re limited, and they don’t regenerate. That means you’re born with the only retinal cells you’ll ever have. If they are damaged or destroyed, new ones aren’t made to replace them.
Fish, lizards, frogs, birds-they have retinal cells that regenerate (more for the trivia file), but yours don’t.
When retinal cells are destroyed or damaged, part of your vision is destroyed and/or damaged. This is why many eye injuries are simply not repairable. As such, keeping your eyes safe while playing racquetball will not only help you destroy your opponent but keep you from destroying your eyes.
It Won’t Happen To Me
You’re just shooting hoops with the fam, how on earth could you possibly sustain an eye injury? The truth is, it happens. In addition to the stats above, here are a few more if you need a little more convincing.
The sports most highly associated with producing eye injuries are:
- Sports that require the use of a racquet
- Full contact martial arts
All it takes is for Uncle Dave to get a little resentful about the size of your house before he “accidentally” throws an elbow your way while blocking your shot, and boom. Your eye is red, swollen, watering, and in need of an ice pack.
Be prepared for Uncle Dave (and other sports-related perils) with the best eye protection available.
The Specs Every Sports Safety Glasses Need
There are two categories you’ll need to cover for sports safety glasses. They need to be protective, and they need to be comfortable. Wearing anything that is ill-fitting or uncomfortable will distract you from your game and give the opponent the upper hand.
We understand that if you’re not first, you’re last (or at least a well-deserved second). Here are the specs your eyewear needs to keep you safe and focused on your game.
To be the Chuck Norris of eyewear, your safety glasses need to be as indestructible as the man himself. Chuck Norris earned that skill through decades of intense martial arts; your glasses earn it through extreme ANSI testing.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a non-governmental agency that provides testing methods for civilian equipment. To earn the ANSI’s seal of approval, eyewear must undergo the magnum opus of safety tests.
- High velocity impact test. During this test, safety eyewear is strapped to a headform, and a ball bearing is fired directly at the lens at incredibly high speeds. This simulates the way debris (or a ball) would impact the lens.
- High mass impact test. This test involves dropping a weighted ball bearing onto the lens from a specified height.
To pass the test, the eyewear can’t shatter or break. If they do, the manufacturer has some work to do. If the eyewear passes, you’ll know because the ANSI seal will be emblazoned upon some part of the body of the glasses (usually the arms).
Vertical and Lateral Protection
“I’ll just wear my sunglasses/eyeglasses” are famous last words in the eye safety world. Your regular sunglasses and prescription eyewear aren’t made to protect your eyes from the hazards you’re around when you’re playing your favorite sports.
For instance: regular glasses leave your eyes vulnerable in two important areas, just above the eyes near the eyebrow, and on each side of your head at the temples. You know from sports that areas of vulnerability are areas where the opponent can strike.
Cover these areas with side and top shield protection. Side and top shields connect to the lenses of your glasses and offer coverage to keep your eyes safe.
You’ve probably seen wraparound models — they have a curved lens to offer side protection instead of a dedicated side shield. Not only do these look a little like insect eyes, but they also warp your vision, especially if you have prescription safety eyewear.
The effect is a little like a funhouse mirror, which isn’t recommended for making shots or doing anything with any amount of precision.
Even if your favorite sport is played indoors, it’s still a good idea to wear safety eyewear that is UV blocking. This will eliminate the need for switching between sunglasses and safety eyewear. If you’re going to be outdoors, you definitely need UV protection anyway.
UV light is damaging to your eyes, causing your eyes to age and interfering with the abilities of the macula (the structure in the retina that helps you see detail).
All Stoggles eyewear is made from polycarbonate material, which is naturally UV blocking without the need for tinting. That means our eyewear safely blocks harmful UV rays without darkening your glasses so much that you can’t see what you’re doing.
Blue Light Blocking
Another form of harmful light is blue light. Also emitted from the sun, blue light is similar to UV light, but it also comes from other sources, like LED lights, televisions, computers, tablets, and your smartphone.
So while you’re trying to upload the video of the winning hit, you’re simultaneously exposing your eyes to light that could cause:
- Eye strain
- Blurred vision
- Teary, watery eyes
In addition, researchers aren’t sure whether or not it could cause long-term damage to your eyes. They do know, however, that it could negatively impact your sleep cycle. That, friends, could negatively impact your game day.
You’re playing your favorite sports year-round, and that means that no matter how hot, humid, or blistering cold it may be, you’re out in it, making a pick-up game happen. We salute you, and we also recommend you grab eyewear that is fog resistant.
Fogging glasses are a hassle, and not just because they’re annoying. Glasses that fog are incredibly unsafe. They cause you to take your eyes off of the game and lose your concentration.
In addition, they have to be removed to wipe down. When that happens, your safety eyewear loses the ability to protect your eyes. What are the chances you’re going to call a timeout to go wipe your glasses down? You’re going to do what every normal person does; take them off quickly, wipe them on your shirt, and put them back on.
In the time it takes you to do, you could quite literally sustain a ball or racquet or other harmful blunt force trauma to the eye. It’s not worth the risk. Anti-fog coated eyewear keeps your eyes safe by ensuring that you never have to remove them to wipe them down.
In terms of fog protection, at Stoggles, we dip our class into an anti-fog coating. It’s far superior to the outdated “spray” treatment model, which is spotty and unreliable, like trying to use your cellphone in an underground parking garage.
Style and Comfort
We’ve covered the key points of protection, but let’s face it; safety eyewear isn’t very safe if you never use it. Unless you feel like the rockstar you are while wearing it, you probably won’t.
That’s why Stoggles exists; to bring safety, comfort, and style together in a beautiful, harmonious relationship that lasts forever and never needs couples counseling. Thankfully, that’s possible in the world of safety eyewear.
Our eyewear has every element of protection we just discussed, all wrapped up in a sleek, stylish chassis that is customizable by lens shape and color. Want smokey gray cat eye lenses for your tennis match? Done. Prefer clear, barely visible square frames from field games? Also done.
Wearing Stoggles protects your eyes and your reputation.
Bump, Set, Stoggles
You’re an athlete, or at least you play one on the weekends. But even your athletic abilities are no match for an eye injury. Avoid them, and keep yourself squarely in the game by protecting your eyes with the best sports safety eyewear available.